Why worry? The cognitive function of anxiety.
ABSTRACT The phenomenon of worry is considered to arise from cognitive processes involved in anxiety, that serve to maintain high levels of vigilance for personal danger. Rather than rely on self-report alone, the research described here draws on information processing methodology, to investigate this hypothesized cognitive function. Evidence is summarized to show that anxious subjects selectively attend to threatening information, and interpret ambiguous events in a relatively threatening way. However, the evidence on memory suggests that although such information may be easily activated, it is not necessarily more accessible. The allocation of attentional priority to threatening information is seen as a characteristic of anxious (rather than depressed) mood, while the ease with which this processing mode is adopted may underlie trait anxiety and vulnerability to anxiety disorders.
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ABSTRACT: Researchers have hypothesized that thought suppression contributes to the large volume of unwanted thoughts in anxiety disorders. However, comparisons to both non-suppression and non-anxious groups are necessary for studies on thought suppression in high anxiety. Participants completed a series of thought verbalization periods and a social interaction. During one period, participants were randomly assigned to focus upon a negative social memory, suppress it, or think freely while monitoring the memory. Results indicated that thought suppression and focusing caused a greater rise and subsequent decline in unwanted thoughts than monitoring instructions for both high and low social anxiety groups. Importantly, highly socially anxious participants had more unwanted thoughts overall, but did not respond significantly differently to thinking instructions when compared to the less anxious group. Interestingly, highly socially anxious participants did report more thought suppression attempts in their everyday life. They also appeared to benefit by experiencing less shyness after suppression when compared to focusing, a pattern not evident for the low social anxiety group.Behaviour Research and Therapy 01/2008; 45(12):2836-49. DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2007.05.003 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Most research on maternal concerns has focused on their assessment during pregnancy and the early post-partum period. The aim of this study was to identify primary concerns of mothers later in the first post-partum year, changes over time, and factors that were associated with relatively intense concerns, including infant (difficult) temperament, hours employed out of the home and obstetrical complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Data were obtained from 366 first-time (Israeli) mothers at 3 and 6 months post-partum by employing a new tool, the Mothers' Concern Questionnaire, along with standardized questionnaires, administered by phone. Analyses revealed six dimensions of concerns (Family Health, Return to Work, Mother's Well-being, Relationships/Support, Infant Care, and Spouse). Of these, issues related to returning to work and family health were of most concern, and ratings were higher at 3 months than at 6 months post-partum. Women with higher-than-average total concern scores perceived their infant as more difficult, were more likely to have experienced an obstetric complication, and worked more hours out of the house than women with lower-than-average scores. The findings afford a first look at the profile of normative maternal concerns outside of the immediate post-partum period and identify factors that predict more intense concerns. These findings extend what we know about the issues of new mothers and can guide birth educators and help couples prepare themselves for parenthood.Child Care Health and Development 12/2007; 33(6):720-7. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2007.00729.x · 1.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Several studies have shown the amnestic effects of ethanol (ETOH). However, while memory tasks in rodents can be markedly influenced by anxiety-like behavior and motor function, ETOH induces anxiolysis and different effects on locomotion, depending on the dose. Verify the effects of ETOH in mice tested in the plus-maze discriminative avoidance task (PMDAT) concomitantly evaluating memory, anxiety-like behavior, and motor behavior. ETOH acutely or repeatedly treated mice were submitted to the training session in a modified elevated plus-maze with two open and two enclosed arms, aversive stimuli in one of the enclosed arms, and tested 24 h later without aversive stimuli. Learning/memory, locomotion, and anxiety-related behavior were evaluated by aversive arm exploration, number of entries in all the arms and open arms exploration, respectively. Acute ETOH: (1) either increased (1.2-1.8 g/kg) or decreased (3.0 g/kg) locomotion; (2) decreased anxiety levels (1.2-3.0 g/kg); and (3) induced learning deficits (1.2-3.0 g/kg) and memory deficits (0.3-3.0 g/kg). After repeated treatment, sensitization and tolerance to hyperlocomotion and anxiolysis induced by 1.8 g/kg ETOH were observed, respectively, and tolerance to the amnestic effect of 0.6 (but not 1.8) g/kg ETOH occurred. Neither the anxiolytic nor the locomotor effects of ETOH seem to be related to its amnestic effect in the PMDAT. Additionally, data give support to the effectiveness of the PMDAT in simultaneously evaluating learning, memory, anxiety-like behavior, and motor activity by different parameters. Possible relationships between the behavioral alterations found are discussed.Psychopharmacology 06/2007; 192(1):39-48. DOI:10.1007/s00213-006-0684-9 · 3.99 Impact Factor