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Title: Attention processes in chronic fatigue syndrome : health-threat related attentional biases and the role of attentional control
Author: Risdale, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 4061
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2011
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Attentional bias is a psychological mechanism that has been extensively explored within the anxiety literature and more recently in chronic illnesses, such as chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The literature review explores research into attentional bias to pain-related information in chronic pain, with a particular focus on whether an attentional bias in chronic pain exists. The findings suggest an attentional bias to sensory pain-related stimuli, particularly in people with fear avoidance. These findings are explored in relation to theoretical models of chronic pain. The review stresses that further research into factors that might impact upon the consistency of findings is vital to further the understanding of attentional bias in chronic pain. Cognitive behavioural models of CFS and chronic pain suggest there is some overlap in the mechanisms of these chronic conditions. This study investigates whether individuals with CFS (n = 27), compared to a control group (n = 35), possess an attentional bias to health-threat words and pictures, across two exposure durations (500ms and 1250ms) and whether this attentional bias is related to poor executive control. Participants completed a visual probe task and Attention Network Test (ANT). Results suggested that CFS participants with poor executive control showed an attentional bias to word stimuli regardless of exposure duration when compared to controls and CFS participants with good executive attention. These findings suggest that attentional biases are dependent on, or moderated by, an individual's capacity to voluntarily control their attention. Clinical implications are discussed and suggestions made for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available