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Title: An investigation of factors associated with health anxiety in a non-clinical sample
Author: Wearn, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 337X
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
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Background and rationale unlike many other anxiety disorders, health anxiety has received relatively little attention in research until recently. Further research is required to better understand this difficulty, and thereby improve clinical interventions designed to address it. Substantial over-lap has been proposed between health anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and this link was utilised to identify a number of factors' worthy of exploration with respect to health anxiety. Method This study investigated how worry, intolerance of uncertainty, self-ambivalence and attachment insecurity were related to health anxiety. It also explored mediating relationships between these factors, based on a theoretically informed understanding of how they may be related. The study employed a correlational, cross-sectional design and had a non-clinical sample. A web- based survey was completed by 249 participants. The sample was predominantly female (81.5%) and had a mean age of 23.1 (SD=6.4). Results Intolerance of uncertainty was found to be a predictor of health anxiety after mood was controlled for. In addition, the relationship between these variables was found to be mediated by worry. A relationship between self-ambivalence and health anxiety was found, and this was shown to be mediated by intolerance of uncertainty. A relationship between attachment insecurity and health anxiety was not found at the .05 significance level. Attachment insecurity was found to be related to intolerance of uncertainty, and this relationship was shown to be mediated by self-ambivalence. Discussion The results are discussed in the context of previous findings. The role of intolerance of uncertainty in particular is considered, as analyses suggest it is both correlated with and a predictor of health anxiety. The relevance of the study findings to a transdiagnostic approach to treating anxiety is discussed. Methodological limitations of the study, areas for future research and clinical implications of the results are also considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available