The Reduction of Anxiety Vulnerability Through the Modification of Attentional Bias: A Real-World Study Using a Home-Based Cognitive Bias Modification Procedure

S.J. See, Colin Macleod, R.I. Bridle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent laboratory work suggests that biased attentional responding to negative information causally impacts anxiety reactivity to a contrived laboratory stressor. However, it remains unknown whether such attentional bias contributes to real-world anxiety vulnerability. In the present study, the authors addressed this issue by experimentally inducing biased attentional response to emotionally negative stimuli, using a home-based attentional training program and then examining the influence of this attentional manipulation on trait anxiety scores and on state anxiety responses to a subsequent stressful life event. The attentional bias modification procedure was effective in inducing attentional avoidance of negative information. Furthermore, this attentional manipulation served to reduce trait anxiety scores and to attenuate state anxiety responses to the subsequent naturalistic stressor. These findings support the hypotheses that biased attentional responding to emotionally negative information contributes causally to real-world anxiety vulnerability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-75
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume118
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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