A preliminary investigation into worry about mental health: development of the Mental Health Anxiety Inventory

Commons, Della, Greenwood, Kenneth Mark, and Anderson, Rebecca A. (2015) A preliminary investigation into worry about mental health: development of the Mental Health Anxiety Inventory. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 44 (3). pp. 347-360.

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Background: Worry about physical health is broadly referred to as health anxiety and can range from mild concern to severe or persistent anxiety such as that found in DSM-IV hypochondriasis. While much is known about anxiety regarding physical health, little is known about anxiety regarding mental health. However, recent conceptualizations of health anxiety propose that individuals can experience severe and problematic worry about mental health in similar ways to how people experience extreme worry about physical health.

Aims: Given the paucity of research in this area, the aim of the current study was to explore anxiety regarding mental health through validation of the Mental Health Anxiety Inventory (MHAI), a modified version of the Short Health Anxiety Inventory.

Method: The MHAI, and measures of state anxiety (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales-21), trait worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire), and health anxiety (Short Health Anxiety Inventory) were administered to 104 adult volunteers from the general community.

Results: The MHAI demonstrated high internal consistency, acceptable test-retest reliability, and good construct validity when correlated with other measures of anxiety. Results also indicated that participants worried about their mental health and physical health equally, and that almost 9% of participants reported levels of mental health anxiety that were potentially problematic.

Conclusion: Preliminary results suggest that a small proportion of adults in the community may experience high levels of mental health anxiety requiring treatment, and that the MHAI, if validated further, could be a useful tool for assessing this form of anxiety.

Item ID: 40598
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1352-4658
Keywords: Mental Health Anxiety Inventory; mental health anxiety; illness anxiety; hypochondriasis
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Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2015 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2015 23:40
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910401 Industrial Relations @ 100%
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