Document Type



Given the equivocal state of the literature as to the symptom-level specificity of the cognitive variable labeled negative problem orientation (NPO), we targeted NPO–symptom relations. A clinical sample (N = 132) of adults diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, mood disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder completed self-reports of NPO and symptom types (worry, depression, obsessive-compulsive, panic, and social anxiety). Symptom-level specificity was examined using a combination of zero-order and regression analyses that controlled for the other assessed symptoms. Results were that NPO shared small to moderate correlations with the symptoms. Regression results indicated that NPO only shared unique associations with worry, depression, and social anxiety. In the analyses, NPO clustered particularly strongly with worry. The present results provide support for conceptualizing NPO as a cognitive variable common to emotional disorders, but not as related equivalently to all disorders within this category.



Publication Date



This article was originally published in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The version of record can be found here:

Original Citation

Fergus, T. A., Valentiner, D. P., Wu, K. D., & McGrath, P. B. (2015). Examining the symptom-level specificity of negative problem orientation in a clinical sample. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 44, 153-161.

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology




Cognitive Behaviour Therapy



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.