Anxiety Disorders: Psychological Factors

Anxiety disorders are developed and maintained by a combination of biological, social, cultural, and psychological factors. The psychological factors include the internal experiences that occur before, during, and after potentially anxiety-provoking situations. These factors also include the ways in which fear-based associations are learned (i.e., learning theory) and the ways in which thoughts and situations are experienced and interpreted (i.e., cognitive theory). Hence, factors associated with learning theory and cognitive theory, as well as other relevant factors, are the focus of this entry.

Factors Associated With Learning Theory

According to learning theory, anxiety is a learned behavior that serves a function. Anxiety is the result of habitual patterns of responding that develop over time due to stimulus associations (classical conditioning), environmental consequences (operant conditioning), and observations ...

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