The Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ)


Author of Tool: 

Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R. L., & Borkovec, T. D.

Key references: 

Original article:
Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R. L., & Borkovec, T. D. (1990). Development and validation of the penn state worry questionnaire. Behavior Research and Therapy, 28, 487-495.

Brown, T.A. Confirmatory factor analysis of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire: Multiple factors or method effects? Behavior Research and Therapy (2003) 41, 1411-14226.

Fresco, D.M., et. al. ( 2003) Using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire to identify individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: a receiver operating characteristic analysis. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 34, 283-291.

Gillis, M.M., Haaga, D.A. and Ford, G.T. (1995) Normative values for the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Fear Questionnaire, Penn State Worry Questionnaire, and Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory. Psychological Assessment, 7, 450-455.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) is a 16-item questionnaire that aims to measure the trait of worry, using Likert rating from 1 (not at all typical of me) to 5 (very typical of me). Research suggests that the instrument has a strong ability to differentiate patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) from other anxiety disorders.


Worry is regarded as a dominant feature of GAD. Since its development in 1990, the PSWQ has become a widely used self-report tool for pathological worry and GAD. The PSWQ attempts to measure the excessiveness, generality, and uncontrollable dimensions of worry.


The PSWQ has shown to possess high internal consistency and good test-retest reliability (Meyer et al., 1990).



PDF iconPSWQ_Questionnaire

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):


Welcome to the Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Sciences (MIDSS). The site is designed to be a repository for instruments that are used to collect data from across the social sciences. Please use the site to discover instruments you can use in you own research.