The interaction effect of attentional bias and attentional control on dispositional anxiety among adolescents

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

10 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-582
Number of pages19
Journal / PublicationBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
Online published27 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


Research has shown that children and adolescents with attentional control deficits tend to have high anxiety and exhibit threat-related selective attentional bias. This study aimed to investigate how positive and negative attentional biases would interact with attentional control on dispositional anxiety. One hundred and twenty participants aged 18 years of age or younger participated in a visual dot-probe task to measure their attentional bias and completed psychological questionnaires to measure their trait anxiety, and attentional control. Mean reaction times to the probe in milliseconds were used to measure attentional bias. Overall, our participants showed a bigger tendency towards attending to positive emotional stimuli than to negative emotional stimuli. Adolescents with high dispositional anxiety showed poorer attentional control. Regression analyses showed that attentional control interact with negative attentional bias to affect anxiety. For participants with high attentional control, higher negative attentional bias was associated with lower trait anxiety. Trait anxiety was not related to negative attentional bias for participants with low attentional control. Positive attentional bias showed no significant relationship with dispositional anxiety, either alone or in interaction with attentional control. Theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are also discussed.

Research Area(s)

  • Attentional control, Dot-probe paradigm, Negative attentional bias, Positive attentional bias, Trait anxiety