The meaning profiles of anxiety and depression: similarities and differences in two age groups

Shulamith Kreitler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distinctiveness of anxiety and depression is discussed concerning their nature, definitions, uses, manifestations and determinants. The objective was to examine the difference and similarity of anxiety and depression by applying the psychosemantic approach, which is a theory and methodology based on analysing the cognitive processes applied in communicating meanings. In Study 1, there were 760 participants of both genders, 23–31 years old. They were administered the Meanings Test, which yields the respondent’s meaning profile, and one of seven anxiety scales or one of three depression scales. Significant correlations between the meaning profiles and the anxiety or depression scales were summarised and compared. In Study 2, there were 78 individuals over 65 years old who were administered the Meanings Test plus an anxiety or depression scale. The findings for anxiety and depression were compared within and across age groups. The results yielded two distinct meaning profiles for anxiety and depression in the two age groups. The anxiety profile indicated more focusing on one’s internal world. whereas the depression profile indicated focusing both on the personal and the interpersonally shared reality. The conclusion was that anxiety and depression are different constructs that need to be considered as separate theoretically and practically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1499-1513
Number of pages15
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number7
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2018


  • Anxiety
  • cognition
  • depression
  • elderly
  • meaning


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