“Self-Focused Attention and Negative Affect: A Meta-Analysis

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 08/2002; 128(4):638-62. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.4.638
Source: PubMed


This meta-analysis synthesized 226 effect sizes reflecting the relation between self-focused attention and negative affect (depression, anxiety, negative mood). The results demonstrate the multifaceted nature of self-focused attention and elucidate major controversies in the field. Overall, self-focus was associated with negative affect. Several moderators qualified this relationship. Self-focus and negative affect were more strongly related in clinical and female-dominated samples. Rumination yielded stronger effect sizes than nonruminative self-focus. Self-focus on positive self-aspects and following a positive event were related to lower negative affect. Most important, an interaction between foci of self-attention and form of negative affect was found: Private self-focus was more strongly associated with depression and generalized anxiety, whereas public self-focus was more strongly associated with social anxiety.

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    • ", 1990 ; Sedikides , 1992 ) . Correspondingly , in their meta - analysis on SFA and negative affect , Mor and Winquist ( 2002 ) found that elevated SFA after a negative but not after a positive event was associated with negative affect . Taken together , the theoretical models and empirical evidence outlined above suggests that SFA in the context of negative but not positive events is associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety , and more strongly with depression . "
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    ABSTRACT: Self-focused attention (SFA) is considered a cognitive bias that is closely related to depression. However, it is not yet well understood whether it represents a disorder-specific or a trans-diagnostic phenomenon and which role the valence of a given context is playing in this regard. Computerized quantitative text-analysis offers an integrative psycho-linguistic approach that may help to provide new insights into these complex relationships. The relative frequency of first-person singular pronouns in natural language is regarded as an objective, linguistic marker of SFA. Here we present two studies that examined the associations between SFA and symptoms of depression and anxiety in two different contexts (positive vs. negative valence), as well as the convergence between pronoun-use and self-reported aspects of SFA. In the first study, we found that the use of first-person singular pronouns during negative but not during positive memory recall was positively related to symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with anorexia nervosa with varying levels of co-morbid depression and anxiety. In the second study, we found the same pattern of results in non-depressed individuals. In addition, use of first-person singular pronouns during negative memory recall was positively related to brooding (i.e., the assumed maladaptive sub-component of rumination) but not to reflection. These findings could not be replicated in two samples of depressed patients. However, non-chronically depressed patients used more first-person singular pronouns than healthy controls, irrespective of context. Taken together, the findings lend partial support to theoretical models that emphasize the effects of context on self-focus and consider SFA as a relevant trans-diagnostic phenomenon. In addition, the present findings point to the construct validity of pronoun-use as a linguistic marker of maladaptive self-focus.
    Frontiers in Psychology 11/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01564 · 2.80 Impact Factor
    • "Rumination has been related to depression and even predicts (new episodes of) depression (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2000). Chronic negative affect is related to heightened self-focus and especially a ruminative self-focus, suggesting a reciprocal relation (Mor & Winquist, 2002). Indeed, it has been shown that self-focused rumination induction leads to more negative thinking and impairs interpersonal problem solving in dysphoric people (Lyubomirsky & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1995). "
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    ABSTRACT: The attentional scope model of rumination describes the links between rumination and attentional breadth. The model postulates that a more narrow attentional scope, caused by negative mood, increases the likelihood that thoughts become repetitive on the same topic, which in turn could exacerbate negative mood and lead to more attentional narrowing. We experimentally tested this model by examining the attentional effects of rumination using a newly developed rumination versus problem-solving induction. In the first experiment we found that only at high levels of trait rumination, induction of rumination compared with a problem-solving approach was associated with more attentional narrowing for self-related information relative to other-related information. A second experiment on the relationship between trait rumination and attentional breadth in the absence of induced rumination revealed that especially trait brooding was related to more narrowed attention for self-related information relative to other-related information.
    07/2015; 3(4). DOI:10.1177/2167702614566814
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    • "Although the available evidence as to whether baroreceptor activation is able to modulate the subjective appraisal of affective pictures is still inconclusive (Nyklíc̆ ek et al., 2005; Gray et al., 2012), there is growing support for the assumption that not only somatosensory processing (Edwards et al., 2009), but also genuinely cognitive functions, such as stimulus evaluation and motor response times, are affected by the cardiac cycle (Schulz et al., 2009). In addition to the impact of baro-afferent feedback, we were interested in potential interactions with the participants' subjective mood, because several theoretical models derived both from research in personality/ social psychology and from clinical observations posit a close, possibly reciprocal relationship between negative affect and attention directed toward the self (see Mor and Winquist, 2002). Moreover, previous studies on attentional modulation of startle point to the possibility that the association between startle reactivity and self-focused attention may be a complex one, possibly moderated by negative emotional states such as anxiety (Panayiotou and Vrana, 1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although salient stimuli are known to modulate startle eye-blink responses, and one's own face is considered of particular salience, effects of facial self-resemblance on startle responsiveness have not been systematically investigated. For the present study, pictures from the FACES database (rated as neutral) were digitally morphed to resemble the participants' (N=37) faces to varying degrees (25-50-75 %). Perceptually matched geometrical shapes served as a control condition. At SOAs of either 300 ms or 3000 ms after picture onset, startle responses were elicited by white noise (50 ms, 105 dB), and recorded at the orbicularis oculi via EMG. Prior to the experiment, self-reported mood was assessed by means of the PANAS. Relative to non-face stimuli, the presentation of faces reduced startle magnitude at short, but not long, lead intervals. Furthermore, for probes presented at a SOA of 300 ms, a linear decrease in startle magnitude with higher levels of self-resemblance was observed, presumably reflecting higher salience of the self-face. The startle modulating effect of self-resembling faces during longer lead intervals was moderated by the participants' current mood: negative affect predicted stronger patterns of attenuation, which might be interpreted as an increase in self-focus resulting from more negative mood. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 04/2015; 96(3). DOI:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.04.009 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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