Exploring the Impact of Motivational Arousal and Generalised Anxiety Disorder on Language Use

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Mental disorders are now becoming prevalent illnesses. More
than 1 billion people globally were affected by mental and addictive disorders
in 2016, which caused 7% of all global burden of disease (Rehm & Shield,
2019). Among those mental disorders, anxiety disorders and depression rank at
the top. GAD is the most common anxiety disorder form in primary care, and the
burden caused by GAD is severe in terms of decreased work productivity and increased
health care utilization. The present study pivoted around GAD, studying the
intersection between motivational arousal, language, and sympathetic
activation. A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) was designed and undertaken.
The findings were satisfactory: Different arousal manipulation led to different
language patterns of students. For example, negative (avoidance) arousal triggered
fatigue-related words use. GAD inhibited motivational arousal effect on
language, which extended the previous study that GAD people have ’diminished
physiological flexibility’. Furthermore, sympathetic activation was observed
during arousal manipulation, and the variability of Heart Rate (HR) and Heart
Rate Variability (HRV) was significantly affected. Lastly, the ’diminished
physiological flexibility’ of GAD people was also shown in the present study:
GAD students experienced little change in Electrodermal Activity (EDA), HR, and
HRV under motivational arousal manipulation