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Table 2 Worrying core cognitions and underlying cognitions

From: “Doctor, please tell me it’s nothing serious”: an exploration of patients’ worrying and reassuring cognitions using stimulated recall interviews

Worrying core cognitions Underlying cognitions
Person-specific cognitions Context-specific cognitions
I have a serious disease - I have alarming symptoms/abnormal test results which indicate serious disease. - This is a common disease according to the media/in my family/among my friends and acquaintances.
- The symptoms I have are not normal. - The media/my friends say that my symptoms are indicative of a serious disease.
- Now that I am getting older the chance of having a serious disease is increasing. - The symptoms I have must be abnormal as I know of no people in my social environment and with a similar background to mine that have such symptoms.
- My symptoms have not disappeared after the treatment so something must be wrong.
My health problem will have adverse physical effects - I have a health problem that will lead to serious illness causing disability/additional conditions/death. - These adverse effects happen all the time according to the media/in my family/among people I know.
- My symptoms are getting worse.
- I do not know how the symptoms can be treated since I do not know what causes them.
My treatment will have adverse effects - The treatment I received was incorrect, so my health problem will persist. - In my social environment I have seen many cases of incorrect treatment of this problem with bad outcomes.
- If I take medication, I will have to continue to take it indefinitely/there will be side effects/I will have difficulty sticking to my drug regimen. - In my social environment I have often seen adverse effects of medication.
My health problem will negatively impact my life - Having health problems does not fit with how I see myself and my future. - My social environment is not supportive when I have problems and concerns/does not allow me to deal with the problem in my own way.
- I have so many health problems at the same time/My health problems are getting worse/my treatment is no longer effective.  
- My health problems will make me dependent on others/limit my daily functioning.