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Studies based on the most common diagnostic categories do not bring conclusive results concerning the overlapping and distinctive features of anxiety and depression, especially in the areas of attentional functioning, structure of affect, and cognitive emotion regulation. However, a new typology has been proposed which treats anxiety and depression as personality types (Fajkowska, 2013). These types – arousal and apprehension anxiety as well as valence and anhedonic depression – are constructed based on two criteria: specific structure and functions (reactive or regulative). The present paper critically examines the empirical evidence related to this approach. The data mostly confirmed the prediction that the similarities and differences in attentional and affective functioning among the anxiety and depression types would be related to their shared and specific structural and functional characteristics. The new typology turned out to be suitable for integrating the existing research findings by relating them to the structure and functions of anxiety and depression. As a result, it is useful in explaining some of the inconsistencies in literature, as it allows to identify the overlapping and distinctive features of the anxiety and depression types. It also helps to understand the mechanisms contributing to the development and maintenance of anxiety and depression, which might be useful in diagnosis and treatment. However, even though Fajkowska’s approach is an important contribution to the understanding of anxiety and depression, it is not exhaustive. Its limitations are discussed, along with proposed modifications of the theory, as well as further research directions.
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