Exaggerated attention to threatening information, or the threat bias, has been implicated in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders. Recent research has highlighted methodological limitations in threat bias measures, such as temporal insensitivity, leading to the development of novel metrics that capture change and variability in threat bias over time. These metrics, however, have rarely been examined in non-clinical samples. The present study aimed to explore the utility of these trial-level metrics in predicting anxiety-related stress reactivity (stress-induced negative mood state) in trait anxious adults (N = 52). Following a stressor, participants completed the dot probe task to generate threat bias scores. Stress reactivity was measured via stress-induced changes in subjective mood state. More variability in trial-level bias scores (TL-BSs) and greater bias away from threat (both mean and peak negative TL-BSs) predicted increased stress reactivity. The temporal characteristics of threat bias and implications for clinically-relevant measurement are discussed.
Motivation and Emotion – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 2, 2018
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