Negatively valenced thoughts are assumed to play a central role in the development and maintenance of anxiety. However, the role of positive thoughts in anxiety is rather unclear. In the current study we examined the role of negative and positive self-statements in the anxiety level of anxious and non-anxious children. Participants were 139 anxiety disordered children and 293 non-anxious children (8-18 years). Compared to non-anxious children, anxious children reported more negative thoughts, less positive thoughts and lower State of Mind (SUM) ratios (ratio of positive to negative thoughts). Negative thoughts and SOM ratios were the strongest predictors of anxiety level in anxious children; whereas both negative and positive thoughts were the strongest predictors of anxiety level in non-anxious children. To conclude, a lack of positive thoughts might be more than just an epiphenomenon of anxiety level and might deserve a place in the cognitive model of anxiety. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.