LASA filenames:
LASA136 / LASA336

Contact: Almar Kok


Worrying refers to repetitive thoughts about potential threats. It may concern personal issues such as health or finances, or broader issues such as environmental pollution and wars. It may be a stable trait, but it may also have a temporal character. It is highly associated with anxiety disorders and depression. Excessive worrying is the main component of generalized anxiety disorder.

Measurement instrument in LASA

The worry-questionnaire, which is included in the LASA-E measurement, is the Dutch translation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ; Meyer et al. 1990; Molina & Borkovec, 1994; Kerkhof et al. 2000). The questionnaire contains 16 items, of which 5 items should be reversed. These are the items 1, 3, 8, 10 and 11. The item scores range from 1 (not at all characteristic) to 5 (very characteristic). The total score range from 16 to 80. The generally accepted cut-off of ≥ 56 is used to differentiate between worriers and non-worriers (Molina & Borkovec, 1994; Kerkhof et al. 2000).

Scale construction

The total score of the worry-questionnaire is the sum of the 16 items, ranging from 16 (‘low’) to 80 (‘high’).  The generally accepted cut-off of ≥ 56 is used to differentiate between worriers and non-worriers (Molina & Borkovec, 1994; Kerkhof et al. 2000). Imputation is performed in case of two or less missing items. Imputation is performed in case of one or two missing items. In these cases, the average of the available items is imputed for the one or two missing items. No scale score is computed if more than two items are missing.

For the PSWQ-16, a standardized Cronbach’s alpha of .80 (N=1093) has been found in our dataset. However, previous research (Klein Kranenbarg, 2004) suggests the questionnaire should better be abbreviated to increase reliability. This is also affirmed by LASA-data (de Bruijn & Steunenberg, 2004). When the 5 reversed items are deleted, the standardized reliability will increase to .92 (N=1144).


LASAE136 (self-administered questionnaire: in Dutch)

Variable information

LASAE336 (scale values)

Availability of information per wave




¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort;
K=future wave 2021-2022

Sa=data collected in self-administered questionnaire

Previous use in LASA

The questionnaire is not yet used in an international publication.


  1. Bruijn, E.D. de, Steunenberg, B. (2004). Beschouwingen over de bruikbaarheid van de PSWQ als instrument voor het meten van overmatig piekeren bij ouderen in de algemene populatie. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Vakgroep Klinische Psychologie. Rapportage Onderzoeksstage.
  2. Kerkhof, A., Hermans, D., Figee, A., Laeremans, I., Aardema, A. (2000). De Penn State Worry Questionnaire en de Worry Domains Questionnaire: eerste resultaten bij Nederlandse en Vlaamse klinische en poliklinische populaties. Gedragstherapie (33), 135-146.
  3. Klein Kranenbarg, T. (2004). Two studies into the measurement of worrying, a validation of two worry scales. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Vakgroep Klinische Psychologie. Master’s thesis.
  4. Meyer, T.J., Miller, M.L., Metzger, R.L., Borkovec, T.D. (1990). Development and validation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Behaviour Research and Therapy, Vol. 28, No. 6, pp 487-495 (1990).
  5. Molina, S., Borkovec, T.D. The Penn State Worry Questionnaire: psychometric properties and associated characteristics. In: G. Davey, F. Tallis (Red.). Worrying. Perspectives on Theory, Assessment and Treatment. (1994) Chichester: Wiley.

Date of last update: December, 2019