Anxiety and the interpretation of ambiguity: a text comprehension study.

Abstract

Beck's influential cognitive account of anxiety has led to the prediction that individuals vulnerable to anxiety should favor threatening interpretations of ambiguity (e.g., Beck & Clark, 1988; Beck, Emery, & Greenberg, 1986). The current study introduces a novel adaptation of the RSVP technique, previously used in text comprehension research, to evaluate this hypothesis. Results suggest that a group of 24 high trait anxious students did indeed selectively impose threatening interpretations on unconstrained ambiguous sentences. In contrast, a matched group of 24 low trait anxious students appeared to selectively impose non-threatening interpretations on such ambiguous sentences. These findings are fully consistent with the predicted anxiety-linked interpretative bias. Specific testable hypotheses are developed concerning the types of interpretative idiosyncrasies that plausibly may contribute to pathological anxiety.

Statistics

01020'98'00'02'04'06'08'10'12'14'16
Citations per Year

99 Citations

Semantic Scholar estimates that this publication has 99 citations based on the available data.

See our FAQ for additional information.

Cite this paper

@article{Macleod1993AnxietyAT, title={Anxiety and the interpretation of ambiguity: a text comprehension study.}, author={Colin M. Macleod and Ira L Cohen}, journal={Journal of abnormal psychology}, year={1993}, volume={102 2}, pages={238-47} }