Category: Adult Anxiety


The Reliability and Validity of Novel Measures of Attention Bias in a Family Study

Friday, November 17
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom B, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Information Processing | Adolescent Anxiety
Presentation Type: Symposium

Attention bias (AB) to threat is a fundamental deficit of internalizing psychopathologies and may connote vulnerability for such disorders. However, traditional AB indices evidence poor reliability. Novel methods of scoring AB result in four indices: vigilance, avoidance, fast disengagement, and slow disengagement. This study examined the reliability and validity of AB indices in two ways: predicting intra-individual anxiety-relevant constructs and predicting anxiety within families. Sibling pairs (n = 211) from an NIMH-funded family study were assessed for psychopathology using the SCID and completed questionnaires on transdiagnostic constructs such as the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS) and the Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS). The dot-probe paradigm with masked threatening and neutral face pairs was used to operationalize AB. The four novel AB indices were calculated as were traditional AB indices.Internal consistency reached acceptable levels for all novel AB indices (all αs>0.70). Preliminary results suggest that novel AB indices, particularly avoidance and slow disengagement, were associated with symptoms of GAD and both IUS and DTS scores (rs=-0.30-0.20, ps 0.37, pB=-0.08, t=-2.15, p=.033) and probands’ avoidance predicted greater DTS-Regulationin their sibling (B=0.01, t=2.10, p=0.04). In contrast, traditional AB measures demonstrated poor psychometrics. We also plan to examinethe relationship between the AB indices and error-related negativity (ERN), an event-related potential that has been shown to index threat responding among individuals with certain anxiety pathology. These findings suggest that novel measures of AB, particularly fast disengagement and avoidance during threat, may be useful in predicting anxiety-relevant constructs both intra-individually and within families.

Emily Meissel

University of Illinois at Chicago


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The Reliability and Validity of Novel Measures of Attention Bias in a Family Study

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