Clarifying the Relation of Valued Living and Quality of Life in the Context of Anxiety Symptoms

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Individuals with anxiety experience impairment in social and professional functioning, including increased worker absenteeism and decreased work productivity (Ansseau et al., 2005; Bourland et al., 2000; Henning et al., 2007; Van Mill et al., 2013). Such negative outcomes may, in turn, lead to low quality of life (Olatunji et al., 2007). Indeed, individuals with anxiety disorders report low frequency of engaging in behavioral actions consistent with personally chosen values, such as in social and work domains of life, relative to those who do not struggle with anxiety symptoms (Michelson et al., 2011). Accordingly, valued living may be one factor related to reported low quality of life in anxious populations. The present study aimed to clarify the relation of valued living and quality of life among individuals who self-reported anxiety symptoms. We hypothesized a positive association of valued living and quality of life and a negative correlation of anxiety symptoms and quality of life. Participants were 186 undergraduate college students aged 18-38 years, M = 20.07, SD = 2.94, who reported struggling with anxiety symptoms as part of a cross-sectional survey, which was completed in exchange for course credit. A significant positive correlation of quality of life and valued living was identified, r = .58; p < .05. Specifically, a one standard deviation change in valued living was associated with 0.56 standard deviation increase in quality of life, p < .05. Furthermore, the bivariate correlation indicated a significant negative relation of quality of life and anxiety symptoms, r = −.19; p < .05, such that a one standard deviation increase in anxiety symptoms was associated with a 0.13 standard deviation decline in quality of life, p < .05. Results highlight the importance of increasing value guided behavior for anxious individuals seeking to enhance their quality of life.

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Christopher Berghoff

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