Reliability and validity of measures of attentional bias towards threat in unselected student samples: seek, but will you find?

Bram Van Bockstaele, Luuk Lamens, Elske Salemink, Reinout W Wiers, Susan M Bögels, Kyriaki Nikolaou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although attentional bias (AB) is considered a key characteristic of anxiety problems, the psychometric properties of most AB measures are either problematic or unknown. We conducted two experiments in which we addressed the reliability, convergent validity, and concurrent validity of different AB measures in unselected student samples. In Experiment 1 (N = 66), the visual probe task and the emotional flanker task yielded unreliable estimates of AB. Both the relevant and irrelevant feature visual search task yielded better reliability estimates, yet AB scores did not correlate significantly with each other nor with self-reported social anxiety. In Experiment 2 (N = 60), we retained only the visual search tasks. The relevant feature visual search task was again highly reliable, but it did not correlate significantly with anxiety measures. The irrelevant feature visual search task yielded only small reliability estimates, yet one of the scores was significantly correlated with implicit (but not self-reported or physiological) measures of social anxiety. Together, our results advocate the use of variants of visual search tasks to measure AB and they underline the importance of fundamental psychometric testing in AB research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalCognition & Emotion
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

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