Chapter 10

For each term below, first note how you would define the term. Then, click on the arrow to reveal the book’s definition.


An anxiety disorder characterized by severe, pervasive anxiety when in situations perceived to be difficult to escape (e.g., fear of being in crowds) or complete avoidance of certain situations.


The “pathological counterpart of normal fear, manifest by disturbances of mood, as well as of thinking, behavior, and physiological activity” (U.S. DHHS, 1999, p. 233).

Anxiety disorder

A category of mental health disorders characterized by excessive or inappropriate expression of anxiety.

Anxiety sensitivity

Fear of anxiety and anxiety-related sensations.


Anxiety reducing.

Clinical anxiety

Having enough anxiety symptoms at a sufficient intensity to meet the criteria for a clinical disorder requiring some form of therapeutic intervention (e.g., psychotherapy, medication).

Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBTs)

Forms of psychotherapy that usually involve some combination of training in relaxation, thought restructuring, psychological education, and changing behavioral responses to anxiety-provoking situations.

Distraction/time-out hypothesis

A hypothesis suggesting that the anxiety- and depression-reducing effects of exercise are due to the distraction it provides from the normal routine.

Double-blind experiment

An experiment in which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know which subjects are receiving a drug or a placebo.

Generalized anxiety disorder

An anxiety disorder characterized by worry lasting more than six months, along with multiple symptoms (e.g., muscle tension, poor concentration, insomnia, irritability).

Mental disorder

A health condition characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.

Mental health

According to the U.S. surgeon general, a state of successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and to cope with adversity.

Mental health problem

Signs and symptoms that are of insufficient intensity or duration to meet the criteria for any mental disorder but are sufficient to warrant active efforts in health promotion, prevention, and treatment.

Mental illness

Refers to all diagnosable mental disorders.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

An anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions (such as recurrent thoughts or images that are perceived as inappropriate or forbidden and that elicit anxiety), and compulsions that reduce the anxiety associated with the obsessions. Compulsions may be behaviors or thoughts.

Panic disorder

An anxiety disorder characterized by intense fear and discomfort associated with physical and mental symptoms, including sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, fear of dying, or loss of control of emotions.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

An anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety and behavioral disturbances that persist for more than one month, following exposure to extreme trauma (e.g., combat, physical assault).

Social anxiety disorder specific phobia

An anxiety disorder characterized by an exaggerated, irrational fear of an object or class of objects.

State anxiety

A noticeable but transient emotional state characterized by feelings of apprehension and heightened autonomic nervous system activity.

Thermogenic hypothesis

A hypothesis stating that the elevated body temperature resulting from exercise can also lead to psychological changes, such as reduced anxiety.

Trait anxiety

A general predisposition to respond across many situations with apprehension, worry, and nervousness.