Modification of Interpretive Bias: Impact on Anxiety Sensitivity, Information Processing and Response to Induced Bodily Sensations
thesisposted on 2021-05-22, 15:34 authored by Emma M. MacDonald
Anxiety Sensitivity (AS) is the fear of normal, arousal-related bodily sensations due to the belief that they have negative consequences. High AS is associated with interpretive biases whereby normal bodily sensations are perceived as threatening. Research shows that interpretive biases can be modified through cognitive training. In the present study, the impact of interpretation training on cognitive processes and behaviour was examined in people with high AS. Thirty-four participants were assigned to either a training condition designed to induce a benign interpretive bias, or a “sham” condition designed to have no effect on existing biases. Participants in the training condition reported significant decreases in overall AS and fear of the physical consequences of anxiety. Interpretive bias measures yielded mixed findings. Both conditions displayed decreased negative interpretations of explanations of physical sensations, but only the training condition displayed decreased interpretations of specific, negative explanations of physical sensations. Theoretical implications are discussed.