Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Exploring links between anxiety, attention and social adjustment in youths and adults
Author: Pavlou, Katerina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 6114
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
A vast amount of research has found links between anxiety and attention biases towards threatening stimuli. Theoretical models of attention in anxiety focus on two main attentional pathways; these are selective attention to threat(e.g., Mogg & Bradley, 1998), where attention is automatically capture by threatening stimuli, and hypervigilance for threat (e.g., Richards,Benson & Hadwin, 2011), where attention is spread across the visual field and threat is detected and processed by covert attention. Attentional control is argued to have a moderating role in the relationship between anxiety and attention biases to threat (i.e. attention biases to threat are most evident in anxious individual with low attentional control). In addition, research indicates that reduced attentional control and attention biases for threat stimuli are associated with poor social adjustment across development,including poor peer relationships and atypical social behaviour. The current thesis used an eye-movement paradigm to explore the relationship between anxiety, attention to threat and social adjustment in youths and adults. The remote distractor paradigm was used to measure attentional capture, as well as hypervigilance, for threat. In this paradigm, rapid eye movements to the angry face distractor provide evidence of attentional capture to threat. Slower latencies to initiate eye movements to the target in the presence of an angry distractor face provide evidence of hypervigilance for threat. Across three studies the results showed that anxious behaviour was unrelated to selective attention for threat. Instead the results showed that neuroticism (i.e. a personality trait characterised by increased levels of anxiety) was associated with hypervigilance for angry (but not happy or neutral) faces. In addition the current experiments revealed links between internalising traits (trait anxiety and neuroticism) and impaired in hibition of threat and social adjustment difficulties including poor performance during social interaction and low socio-metric status. The results from the current experiments are in line with previous research suggesting that anxiety is characterised by impaired inhibition of threat, where this is facilitated by a broad attentional beam. In addition, the current result fit theoretical models and empirical findings that highlight links between attentional mechanisms and poor social adjustment.
Supervisor: Hadwin, Julie ; Benson, Valerie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available