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Presentation Master's Thesis - Daniella de Wit - Clinical Psychology

Last modified on 04-08-2022
The moderating role of trait-anxiety in fear learning, a case of deficient safety processing or a negativity bias
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Start date
10-08-2022 12:00
End date
10-08-2022 13:00

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Some of the most prevalent disorders in the modern age are anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders could be among the most debilitating disorders, crippling workplace performance, social engagement and day-to-day life. A particular personality trait might influence the way these disorders arise. High trait-anxiety (HTA) individuals might be predisposed to enhanced fear and stress due to conditioning, i.e., making associations between a circumstance and fear. That’s why the moderating role of HTA was researched in the relation between conditioning and stress responding. 134 undergraduate students were measured on trait-anxiety using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-T), the stress was measured using the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) on the area of Valence. To induce stress, the participants partook in a social stress test. 

This research paper used a within-subject moderation analysis, an extension called MEMORE for SPSS. The results show that HTA was a significant moderator for stress responding. However, individuals with HTA could still distinguish between threat and safe cue. Individuals with HTA were significantly more anxious when exposed to threat cues compared to individuals with LTA. Indicating that instead of a deficient safety processing, a general negativity bias took place. Future research could investigate whether negativity bias occurs not only in depression disorders, but also disorders related to anxiety