Revisions to DSM-III cite apprehensive expectation or 'worry' as a defining feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The quality and focus of worry reported by groups of GAD patients (n = 19), and nonanxious 'controls' (n = 26) were examined using self-monitored data. Content categorizations by independent raters showed that GAD patients worried more about illness, health and injury issues and displayed a tendency to worry more about miscellaneous 'minor' issues. These descriptor ratings differentiated the worries of GAD patients from those of non-anxious controls: perceived control over worrying, the extent to which the worry was considered realistic, and perceived success with which worry was alleviated using corrective/preventative actions. The data are related to the DSM-III-R criteria for GAD and to conceptualizations of the nature of excessive worry.