Lees, Andrea, Mogg, Karin and Bradley, Bradley
Health anxiety, anxiety sensitivity and attentional biases for pictorial and linguistic health-threat cues.
Cognition and Emotion, 19, (3), . (doi:10.1080/02699930441000184).
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The study investigated attentional biases for pictorial and linguistic health-threat stimuli in high and low health anxious individuals, who were selected from the upper and lower quartile ranges of a normal sample using a screening measure of health anxiety. Attentional bias was assessed using a visual probe task which presented health-threat and neutral pictures and words at two exposure durations, 500 ms and 1250 ms. The prediction that the high health anxious group would show a greater attentional bias for health-threat cues than the low health anxious group was not supported despite the groups being well-differentiated on a general measure of health anxiety, the Illness Attitudes Scale (IAS). Instead, the results indicated that individuals with high levels of anxiety sensitivity showed a significantly greater initial attentional bias for threat pictures compared with those with low anxiety sensitivity, as assessed by the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI).
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