2. Department of Statistics, USBE, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Background: It is well-recognized that emotions and emotional disorders may alter the experience of time. Yet relatively little is known about different aspects of psychological time in relation to anxiety. The purpose of the present study was to explore several aspects of temporal processing, including time perspective, prospective and retrospective time estimation, in persons with anxiety symptoms.
Methods: A total of 110 individuals with varying degrees of anxiety participated in two studies. They were assigned to two groups (anxiety–control) based on their scores on anxiety measurements. Participants also completed an inventory of time perspective and several time estimation tasks which were analyzed on a group-level. Depressive symptoms were assessed and used as a covariate in the second study.
Results: Anxiety was significantly associated with Past Negative and Future Negative time perspectives as measured by the Swedish Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (S-ZTPI), even when controlling for the effect of depressive symptoms. No other significant differences were found.
Conclusion: Exploring time perspective in persons with anxious symptoms may provide important insights into features of anxiety. These findings may offer new ways of conceptualizing anxiety and provide suggestions for treatment strategies.
Keywords: Anxiety, depression, mental health, temporal processing, time assessment, time estimation, time perspective