The relative deprivation trap: how feeling deprived relates to symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder

Nadler, Jonah Samuel (2021) The relative deprivation trap: how feeling deprived relates to symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (769kB)


The psychological factors that explain how income inequality is associated with poorer mental health remain unclear. Personal relative deprivation (PRD), defined as the subjective distress experienced as a result of appraising oneself as unfairly disadvantaged compared to similar others, has been associated with poorer mental health, and may help explain this association. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a highly prevalent psychological disorder associated with negative cognitive appraisals. Accordingly, PRD may relate to the experience of GAD and to cognitive processes associated with GAD. In two studies we tested whether PRD was associated with GAD symptoms and if this relationship could be explained by cognitive predictors of GAD including Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU), Positive Beliefs about Worry (PBW), Negative Beliefs about Worry (NBW), and Experiential Avoidance (EA). Participants completed surveys measuring their experiences of PRD, cognitive predictors of GAD, GAD symptomology, subjective socioeconomic status, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. We found a consistent relationship between PRD and GAD. IU and NBW simultaneously mediated this relationship, while PBW and EA did not. These results remained when statistically adjusting for subjective socioeconomic status but were weakened when statistically adjusting for self-concept factors. This research suggests that the experience of relative deprivation may “trap” people in thinking patterns that contribute to symptoms of anxiety.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 15185
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 35-43).
Keywords: deprivation, anxiety, inequality, beliefs about worry, intolerance of uncertainty, experiential avoidance
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: February 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Deprivation (Psychology); Anxiety disorders--Social aspects.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics