Attentional biases in social anxiety and dysphoria: Does comorbidity make a difference?


This study examined whether comorbid symptoms influence the attentional biases associated with social anxiety and dysphoria using the Emotional Stroop Task (EST). Participants were recruited into three groups: a Social Anxiety group, a Dysphoric group, and a Social Anxiety/Dysphoric group. Four types of stimulus words were used: social anxiety threat, depressive threat, neutral words, and positive words. It was hypothesized that the Social Anxiety group would display an attentional bias to emotionally threatening stimuli whereas neither the dysphoric nor the Social Anxiety/Dysphoric group would display an attentional bias. Results found that the Social Anxiety group took longer to color name social threat and depressive words, whereas neither the Dysphoric nor the Comorbid group displayed an attentional bias. These results are discussed in light of their implications for cognitive theories of social anxiety and depression. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Anxiety Disorders