Perceptions of threat

Keith Bredemeier, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A perceived threat involves the subjective recognition of a potential (but uncertain) future undesirable outcome. Such perceptions can be further subdivided into two key components: the predicted likelihood, or probability, that the undesirable outcome will occur; and the expected impact, or cost, to the individual if it does. This chapter focuses on research about the general tendency to worry, along with generalized anxiety disorder, there is emerging evidence that worrying is a transdiagnostic problem. Perceptions of threat are typically measured in psychological research by describing a variety of hypothetical outcomes and asking respondents to indicate how likely they are to occur, and the expected cost should they occur. Understanding the factors that contribute to elevated perceptions of threat has important clinical implications (e.g., for developing alternative targets for treatment, and possibly even prevention).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeneralized Anxiety Disorder and Worrying
Subtitle of host publicationA Comprehensive Handbook for Clinicians and Researchers
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781119189909
ISBN (Print)9781119189862
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Expected impact
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Perceived threat
  • Predicted likelihood
  • Psychological research
  • Transdiagnostic problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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