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Miller, Karissa (2018) THREAT BIAS AND HEART RATE VARIABILITY IN TRAIT ANXIETY. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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An attentional bias favoring threat-related information and reduced cardiac vagal control are both prominent features of anxiety. However, relationships of threat bias to indicators of vagal tone, such as high frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), have primarily been examined among non-anxious individuals. The present study examined associations of threat bias, HF-HRV, and trait anxiety among 86 participants preselected for having high or low trait anxiety (M age= 26, 58% Female, 69% White), and tested whether experimentally manipulating threat bias via attention bias modification (ABM) would influence HF-HRV among high trait anxious individuals. Extent of threat bias, mood, and resting HF-HRV were assessed at baseline among all study participants. High trait anxious participants were then randomized to complete either a bias enhancing or bias attenuating ABM protocol after which extent of bias was re-assessed, and HF-HRV and mood were collected at rest, in response to stress, and during stress recovery. Results indicated that extent of vigilance toward threat (but not HF-HRV) predicted level of trait anxiety (OR = .995, p = .04), but that threat bias and HF-HRV were unrelated. In addition, ABM did not influence extent of bias or mood; however, HF-HRV increased from pre- to post-ABM among participants in the bias enhancement group, and decreased from post-ABM to stress among participants in the bias attenuation group [F (2.61, 130.61) =3.81, p=.02]. These results highlight vigilance toward threat as a salient component of threat bias and are the first to demonstrate an effect of ABM on HF-HRV among trait anxious individuals.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Miller, Karissakgm18@pitt.edukgm180000-0001-6208-1174
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairManuck, Stephenmanuck@pitt.edumanuck
Committee CoChairPrice, Rebeccapricerb@upmc.edupricerb
Committee MemberGianaros, Petergianaros@pitt.edugianaros
Committee MemberJennings, J Richardjenningsjr@pitt.edujenningsjr
Committee MemberMarsland, Annamarsland@pitt.edumarsland
Date: 27 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 April 2018
Approval Date: 27 September 2018
Submission Date: 9 May 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 108
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Attention Bias, Threat Bias, Anxiety, Heart Rate Variabilty
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 19:59
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2018 19:59

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  • THREAT BIAS AND HEART RATE VARIABILITY IN TRAIT ANXIETY. (deposited 27 Sep 2018 19:59) [Currently Displayed]


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