This study sought to further explain the association between general anxiety symptoms and impaired problem‐solving by testing whether this occurs, in part, through a reduced ability to retrieve event‐level, specific autobiographical memory (AM). Participants (N = 301; M age = 28.2 SD = 7.7, 55.8% female) completed assessments of the retrieval of specific AM, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and rumination. They then completed the Means‐End Problem Solving Task, which assessed their ability to produce relevant problem‐solving steps. Participants who were higher in anxiety reported a lesser number of relevant problem‐solving steps, and this association was, in part, related to anxiety being associated with reduced AM specificity (after controlling for depressive symptoms). Rumination did not mediate anxiety and problem‐solving, nor anxiety and AM specificity. These findings provide further evidence that elevated anxiety is associated with reduced ability to retrieve specific AM, and a specific cognitive pathway through which anxiety may affect problem‐solving performance.
- Applied Cognitive Psychology, Volume 32, Issue 5, Page 641-647, September/October