Reinholdt-Dunne, Marie Louise, Mogg, Karin and Bradley, Brendan P.
Attention control: relationships between self-report and behavioral measures, and symptoms of anxiety and depression
Cognition and Emotion, 27, (3), . (doi:10.1080/02699931.2012.715081).
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Individual differences in attention control are proposed to contribute to anxiety and depression. However, self-reported attention control, assessed on the Attentional Control Scale (ACS), appears to be a heterogeneous construct with separate components of Focusing (e.g., concentrating, resisting distraction) and Shifting (e.g., flexible switching of attention between tasks). Moreover, these constructs are proposed to relate differently to anxiety and depression. Two studies are reported which investigated relationships between ACS Focusing and Shifting and (i) an objective behavioral measure of attention control from the Attention Network Task (ANT); and (ii) anxiety and depression symptoms in two separate non-clinical samples (Ns =165 and 193). Results of Study 1 indicated that only ACS Focusing was significantly associated with ANT attention control; with both measures reflecting resistance to distraction. In both studies, self-reported ability to focus attention (ACS-Focusing) was associated with lower anxiety; and greater attentional flexibility (ACS-Shifting) was associated with fewer depression symptoms.
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