Anxiety sensitivity and attentional bias to threat interact to prospectively predict anxiety

The purpose of the present study was to examine anxiety sensitivity, attentional bias to threat (ABT), and the aggregate influence of these constructs as prospective predictors of anxiety. Participants (N = 176) completed a baseline assessment session which included the completion of self-report measures of anxiety and anxiety sensitivity, as well as an eye-tracking task in which eye movements were recorded during the viewing of neutral and threat images. Measures of anxiety and anxiety sensitivity were completed again as part of an online questionnaire battery at a 1-year follow-up session. As predicted, baseline anxiety sensitivity and ABT predicted anxiety at 1-year follow-up even after accounting for baseline anxiety. However, these main effects were qualified by a significant interaction effect such that those high in anxiety sensitivity at baseline reported relatively higher anxiety at the 1-year follow-up, but only if they also exhibited higher levels of ABT at baseline. Results suggest that individuals with this combination of vulnerability factors (high levels of both anxiety sensitivity and ABT) may be at particularly high risk for developing anxiety and may benefit from preemptive efforts to reduce ABT.

Read the full paper: Bardeen, J. R., & Daniel, T. A. (2018). Anxiety sensitivity and attentional bias to threat interact to prospectively predict anxietyCognitive Behaviour Therapy. doi:10.1080/16506073.2018.1466911

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