Chapter

ATTENTION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF ANXIETY DISORDERS

Patricia L. Jordan and J. Bruce Morton

in Cognitive Neuroscience, Development, and Psychopathology

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195315455
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199979066 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195315455.003.0004
ATTENTION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF ANXIETY DISORDERS

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Individual differences in child temperament longitudinally predict the development of anxiety disorders. The mechanisms that mediate this longitudinal relation, however, remain poorly understood. One possibility is that heightened behavioral inhibition promotes the development of threat-related attentional biases associated with anxiety. Although there is significant empirical evidence linking threat-related attentional biases with anxiety, there is little understanding of the relative contribution of reactive versus regulatory components of attention in conferring vulnerability. The chapter proposes a two-factor model that distinguishes between reactive biases in attentional orienting and effortful attentional regulation. Specifically, it is hypothesized that individuals with biases in both attentional orienting (i.e., toward threat-related information) and poor attentional regulation should be most vulnerable to the development of anxiety. The chapter concludes by outlining several empirical strategies for disentangling the relative contribution of reactive and regulatory components of attention in conferring vulnerability for anxiety.

Keywords: attention; anxiety; temperament; orienting; regulation

Chapter.  12655 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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