Skip to main content Accesibility Help

Psychometric Characteristics of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire in an Argentinean Sample: A Cross-Cultural Contribution

  • Ricardo Rodríguez-Biglieri (a1) and Giselle Lorena Vetere (a2)

Although studies in several populations have provided support for Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSQW) reliability and validity, factor analysis studies carried out on different populations show divergent results. The aim of this article is to contribute with the cross-cultural literature on PSWQ. This report describes two studies examining the psychometric characteristics of a revised Argentinean version of the PSWQ. In the first study, items of original PSWQ were translated into Spanish and then back-translated into English. Then, in order to examine its reliability and factorial structure, the instrument was completed by 400 community participants. The second study included two groups of participants as follows: patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and patients with other anxiety disorders (AC). Results revealed appropriated test-retest reliability over a four-week period, high internal consistency, and good convergent and discriminant validity for PSWQ. In concordance with some results reported in previous studies, a single factorial structure was confirmed for the Argentinean version of PSWQ. By the other hand, a receiver operating characteristic analysis was made to evaluate the ability of PSWQ to discriminate GAD from individuals with others anxiety disorders. A total score of 63 simultaneously optimized sensitivity and specificity in discriminating GAD patients from patients with others anxiety disorders.

Aunque estudios conducidos en diversas poblaciones han establecido que el Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSQW) posee adecuados índices de confiabilidad y validez, los análisis sobre su estructura factorial han arrojado resultados divergentes. El objetivo del presente artículo es contribuir con la literatura transcultural del PSWQ. Con dicho fin se describen dos estudios los cuales examinan las características psicométricas de una versión Argentina revisada del PSWQ. En el primer estudio los ítems originales del PSWQ fueron traducidos al español y luego traducidos nuevamente al inglés. Posteriormente, con la finalidad de examinar la confiabilidad y estructura factorial del instrumento, el mismo fue administrado a 400 participantes. El segundo estudio incluyó un grupo de pacientes con Trastorno de Ansiedad Generalizada (TAG) y otro grupo conformado por pacientes con otros cuadros de ansiedad (CA). Los resultados registraron adecuados índices de confiabilidad test-retest para un período de cuatro semanas, altos índices de consistencia interna, y buenos índices sobre la validez convergente y discriminante del instrumento. En concordancia con resultados informados en algunos estudios previos, una solución unifactorial fue registrada para la versión Argentina del PSWQ. Por otro lado, se efectuó un análisis de las curvas de operación característica del receptor con la finalidad de evaluar la capacidad del PSWQ para diferenciar pacientes con TAG de aquellos con otros cuadros de ansiedad. Un puntaje total de 63 optimizó simultáneamente sensibilidad y especificidad para la diferenciación de pacientes con TAG de pacientes con otros cuadros de ansiedad.

Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ricardo Rodríguez-Biglieri. Facultad de Psicología. Departamento de Psicología Clínica y Psicoterapia. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Av. Corrientes 5239, 11° D. Código Postal: C1414AJR. Buenos Aires. (Argentina). Phone: +54-011-4856-6506; Fax: +54-011-42445025. E-mail:
Hide All
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th Ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Barlow, D. H. (1988). Anxiety and its disorders: the nature and treatment of anxiety and panic. New York, NY: Guildford Press.
Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). BDI-II, beck depression inventory: Manual (2nd ed.). San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (2006). Inventario de depresión de Beck: BDI-II [The Beck Depression Inventory-II] (2nd ed.). Buenos Aires: Paidós.
Beck, J. G., Stanley, M. A., & Zebb, B. J. (1995). Psychometric properties of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Geropsychology, 1, 3342.
Behar, E., Alcaine, O., Zuellig, A. R., & Borkovec, T. D. (2003). Screening for generalized anxiety disorder using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire: A receiver operating characteristics analysis. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 34, 2543. doi:10.1016/S0005-7916(03)00004-1
Borkovec, T. D. (1994). The nature, functions and origins of worry. In Davey, G. C. L., & Tallis, F. (Eds.), Worrying: Perspectives on theory, assessment and treatment (pp.533). Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Borkovec, T. D., Alcaine, O., & Behar, E. (2004). Avoidance theory of worry and generalized anxiety disorder. In Heimberg, R. G., Turk, C. L., & Mennin, D. S. (Eds.), Generalized anxiety disorder: Advances in research and practice (pp. 77108). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Borkovec, T. D., Shadick, R. N., & Hopkins, M. (1991). The nature of normal and pathological worry. In Rapee, R. M., & Barlow, D. H. (Eds.), Chronic anxiety: Generalized anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety-depression (pp. 2951). New York, NY: Guildford Press.
Brislin, R., Lonner, W., & Thorndike, R. (1973). Cross-cultural research methods. New York, NY: Wiley.
Brown, T. A. (2003). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire: Multiple factors or method effects? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41, 1411–426. doi:10.1016/S0005-7967(03)00059-7
Brown, T. A., Antony, M. M., & Barlow, D. H. (1992). Psychometric properties of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire in a clinical anxiety disorders sample. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 30, 3337.doi:10.1016/0005-7967(92)90093-V
Carter, M., Sbrocco, T., Miller, O., Suchday, S., Lewis, E., & Freedman, R. (2005). Factor structure, reliability, and validity of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire: differences between African-American and White-American college students. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19(8), 827843. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2004.11.001
Chelminski, I., & Zimmerman, M. (2003). Pathological worry in depressed and anxious patients. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 17(5), 533–46. doi:10.1016/S0887-6185(02)00246-3
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioural sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
Covin, R., Ouimet, A., Seeds, P., & Dozois, D. (2008). A meta-analysis of CBT for pathological worry among clients with GAD. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22(1), 108116. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.01.002
Crittendon, J., & Hopko, D. R. (2006). Assessing worry in older and younger adults: Psychometric properties of an Abbreviated Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ-A). Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 20, 10361054. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2005.11.006
Davey, G. C. (1994). Pathological worrying as exacerbated problem solving. In Davey, G. C. L., & Tallis, F. (Eds), Worrying: Perspectives on theory, assessment and treatment. Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Davey, G. C., Hampton, J., Farrell, J., & Davidson, S. (1992). Some characteristics of worrying: Evidence for Worrying and anxiety as separate constructs. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 133147. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(92)90036-O
Davey, G. C., & Wells, A. (Eds.) (2006). Worry and its psychological disorders. Chichester, UK: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9780470713143
Dugas, M. J., & Ladouceur, R. (1998). Analysis and treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. In Caballo, V. E. (Ed.), International handbook of cognitive-behavioral treatments of psychological disorders (pp. 197225). Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.
First, M. B., Spitzer, R. L., Williams, J. B., & Gibbon, M. (1995). Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I): User's Guide and Interview, Research Version. New York, Biometrics Research Department, New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Fresco, D. M., Heimberg, R. G., Mennin, D. S., & Turk, C. L. (2002). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 313-323. doi:10.1016/S0005-7967(00)00113-3
Fresco, D. M., Mennin, D. S., Heimberg, R. G., & Turk, C. L. (2003). Using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire to identify individuals with generalized anxiety disorder: a receiver operating characteristic analysis. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 34, 283291. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2003.09.001
Gana, K., Martin, B., Canouet, M. D., Trouillet, R., & Meloni, F. (2002). Factorial structure of a French version of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 18, 158164. doi:10.1027//1015-5759.18.2.158
González, A., Mata, S., Lavie, R., & Resler, G. (2007). Validación del cuestionario de preocupaciones de la universidad estatal de pensilvania (PSWQ) [Validation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire]. Revista de la Facultad de Medicina Universidad Central de Venezuela, 30(1), 3842.
Gosselin, P., Dugas, M., Ladouceur, R., & Freeston, M. (2001). Evaluation of worry: validation of a French translation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. L' Encéphale 27(5), 475484.
Haslett-Stevens, H., Ullman, J., & Craske, M. (2004). Factor structure of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire: examination of a method factor. Psychological Assessment, 11(4), 361370. doi:10.1177/1073191104269872
Hirai, M., Stanley, M., & Novy, D. (2006). Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Hispanics: Symptom Characteristics and Prediction of Severity. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 28(1), 4956. doi:10.1007/s10862-006-4541-2
Hopko, D., Stanley, M., Reas, D., Wetherell, J., Beck, J., Novy, D., & Averill, P. (2003). Assessing worry in older adults: confirmatory factor analysis of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire and psychometric properties of an abbreviated model. Psychological Assessment, 15(2), 173183. doi:10.1037/1040-3590.15.2.173
Horn, J. L. (1965). A rationale and test for the number of factors in factor analysis. Psychometrika, 30, 179185. doi:10.1007/BF02289447
Kraemer, H. C. (1992). Evaluating medical tests. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Ladouceur, R., Freeston, M. H., Rheaume, J., Letarte, H., & Dumont, J. (1992). Translation and validation of a French version of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Canadian Psychology, 33, 241.
Leibovich de Figueroa, N. B. (1991). Ansiedad: algunas concepciones teóricas y su evaluación. In Casullo, M. M., Figueroa, N. Leibovich de, & Aszkenazi, M. (Eds.), Teoría y técnicas de evaluación psicológica [Theory and techniques of psychologycal assessment] (pp. 121154). Buenos Aires: Psicoteca.
Lim, Y. J., Kim, Y. H., Lee, E. H., & Kwon, S. (2008). The Penn State Worry Questionnaire: psychometric properties of the Korean version. Depression and Anxiety, 25(10), 97103. doi:10.1002/da.20356
Meloni, F., & Gana, K. (2001). Wording effects in the Italian version of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 8, 282287. doi:10.1002/cpp.294
Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R. L., & Borkovec, T. D. (1990). Development and validation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 28, 487495. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(90)90135-6
Molina, S., & Borkovec, T. D. (1994). The Penn State Worry Questionnaire: psychometric properties and associated characteristics. In Davey, G. C. L., & Tallis, F. (Eds.), Worrying: Perspectives on theory, assessment and treatment (pp.265283). Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Molina, S., Borkovec, T. D., Peasley, C., & Person, D. (1998). Content analysis of worrisome streams of consciousness anxious and dysphoric participants. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22, 109123. doi:10.1023/A:1018772104808
Novy, D., Stanley, M., Averill, P., & Daza, P. (2001). Psychometric comparability of English- and Spanish-language measures of anxiety and related affective symptoms. Psychological Assessment, 13(3), 347355. doi:10.1037//1040-3590.13.3.347
Nuevo, R., Mackintosh, M., Gatz, M., Montorio, I., & Wetherell, J. (2007). A test of the measurement invariance of a brief version of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire between American and Spanish older adults. International Psychogeriatrics, 19(1), 89101. doi:10.1017/S1041610206003450
Nuevo, R., Montorio, I., & Ruiz, M. (2002). Aplicabilidad del Inventario de Preocupación de Pensilvania (PSWQ) a población de edad avanzada [Applicability of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire in an older adult population]. Ansiedad y Estrés, 8(2–3), 157172.
Olatunji, B., Schottenbauer, M., Rodriguez, B., Glass, C., & Arnkoff, D. (2007). The structure of worry: relations between positive/negative personality characteristics and the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21(4), 540553. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2006.08.005
Pallesen, S., Nordhus, I., Carlstedt, B., Thayer, J., & Johnsen, T. (2006). A Norwegian adaptation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire: factor structure, reliability, validity and norms. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 47(4), 281–91. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2006.00518.x
Pestle, S., Chorpita, B., & Schiffman, J. (2008). Psychometric properties of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire for children in a large clinical sample. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(2), 465471. doi:10.1080/15374410801955896
Portman, M. (2009). Generalized anxiety disorder across the lifespan: An integrative approach. New York, NY: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-89243-6
Robichaud, M., Dugas, M. J., & Conway, M. (2003). Gender differences in worry and associated cognitive-behavioral variables. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 17, 501516. doi:10.1016/S0887-6185(02)00237-2
Salzer, S., Stiller, C., Tacke-Pook, A., Jacobi, C., & Leibing, E. (2009). Screening for Generalized Anxiety Disorder in inpatient psychosomatic rehabilitation: pathological worry and the impact of depressive symptoms. GMS Psycho-Social-Medicine, 6, 17. doi:10.3205/psm000058
Sandín-Ferrero, B., Chorot-Raso, P., Valiente-García, R., & Lostao-Unzu, L. (2009). Validación española del cuestionario de preocupación PSWQ: estructura factorial y propiedades psicométricas [Spanish validation of the PSWQ: factor structure and psychometric properties]. Revista de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica, 14(2), 107122.
Sassaroli, S., Bertelli, S., Decoppi, M., Crosina, M., Milos, G., & Ruggiero, G. (2005). Worry and eating disorders: a psychopathological association. Eating Behaviors, 6(4), 301307. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2005.05.001
Sibrava, N. J., & Borkovec, T. D. (2006). The cognitive avoidance theory of worry. In Davey, G. C. L. & Wells, A. (Eds.), Worry and its psychological disorders: Theory, assessment and treatment (pp. 239256). Chichester, UK: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9780470713143
Spielberger, C., Gorsuch, R., & Lushene, R., (1994). Cuestionario de ansiedad estado-rasgo, STAI [The trait-state anxiety questionnaire, STAI] (4th ed). Madrid: TEA.
SPSS-PC, Version 17 (2008) [Computer software] Chicago, IL: SPSS Inc.
Starcevic, V., Berle, D., Milicevic, D., Hannan, A., Lamplugh, C., & Eslick, G. (2007). Pathological worry, anxiety disorders and the impact of co-occurrence with depressive and other anxiety disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21(8), 10161027. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2006.10.015
Startup, H. M., & Erickson, T. M. (2006). The Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ). In Davey, G.C.L., & Wells, A. (Eds), Worry and its psychological disorders: Theory, assessment and treatment (pp. 101119). Chichester, UK: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9780470713143
Stöber, J. (1995). Besorgnis: Ein Vergleich dreier Invetare zur Erfassung allgemeiner Sorgen [Worrying: A comparison of three questionnaires concerning everyday worries]. Zeitschrift für Differentielle und Diagnsostische Psychologie, 16, 5063.
Tallis, F., Eysenck, M., & Mathews, A. (1992). A questionnaire for the measurement of nonpathological worry. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 161168. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(92)90038-Q
van Rijsoort, S., Emmelkamp, P., & Vervaeke, G. (1999). The Penn State Worry Questionnaire and the Worry Domains Questionnaire: Structure, reliability and validity. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 6, 297307. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0879(199910)6:4<297::AID-CPP206>3.0.CO;2-E
Vetere, G., & Rodríguez Biglieri, R. (2006). La Terapia Cognitiva y su validación para el Trastorno de Ansiedad Generalizada [The cognitive therapy and its validation for the generalized anxiety disorder]. Revista Argentina de Clínica Psicológica, 15(1), 4953.
Vetere, G., & Rodríguez Biglieri, R. (2005). Validación empírica de modelos teóricos y tratamientos cognitivo-conductuales para trastorno de ansiedad generalizada [Empirical validation of the theoretical models and cognitive behavioral treatments for generalized anxiety disorder]. Vertex, Revista Argentina de Psiquiatría, 61, 170175.
Webb, S., Diefenbach, G., Wagener, P., Novy, D., Kunik, M., Rhoades, H., & Stanley, M. (2008). Comparison of self-report measures for identifying late-life generalized anxiety in primary care. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 21(4), 223231. doi:10.1177/0891988708324936
Yilmaz, A., Gençöz, T., & Wells, A. (2008). Psychometric Characteristics of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire and Metacognitions Questionnaire-30 and Metacognitive Predictors of Worry and Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms in a Turkish Simple. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 15, 424439. doi:10.1002/cpp.589
Young, F. W. (2003). ViSta: The Visual Statistics System. [computer software] [on-line] Retrieved from: URL:
Zhong, J., Wang, C., Li, J., & Liu, J. (2009). Penn state worry questionnaire: structure and psychometric properties of the Chinese version. Journal of Zhejiang University - Science B, 10(3), 211218. doi:10.1631/jzus.B0820189
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Spanish Journal of Psychology
  • ISSN: 1138-7416
  • EISSN: 1988-2904
  • URL: /core/journals/spanish-journal-of-psychology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed