Interpretive bias, repressive coping and trait anxiety

Article


Walsh, J., McNally, Maria A., Skariah, Ancy, Butt, Ayesha A. and Eysenck, Michael W. 2015. Interpretive bias, repressive coping and trait anxiety. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping: An International Journal. 28 (6), pp. 617-633.
AuthorsWalsh, J., McNally, Maria A., Skariah, Ancy, Butt, Ayesha A. and Eysenck, Michael W.
Abstract

Objective: According to vigilance-avoidance theory (Derakshan, Eysenck, & Myers, 2007), repressors have an avoidant interpretive bias, i.e., they interpret ambiguous self-relevant situations in a non-threatening fashion. This study sought to demarcate the range of situations associated with avoidant interpretive bias in repressors.
Design: Four groups of participants, representing the four combinations of low and high trait anxiety and defensiveness, were identified. Those low in trait anxiety and high in defensiveness were categorized as repressors.
Methods: Participants (N = 163) rated their likelihood of making both threatening and non-threatening interpretations of thirty-two ambiguous scenarios over four domains: social, intellectual, physical and health. Half the scenarios were self-relevant and half were other-relevant. Brief measures of state anxiety were taken after each likelihood rating.
Results: Repressors displayed an avoidant interpretive bias for ambiguous threats in the social and intellectual domains but not the health or physical domains. This was due to repressors’ low level of trait anxiety rather than their high defensiveness.
Conclusion: Individuals high in trait anxiety are especially sensitive to situations involving social evaluation but not those characterized by danger to their health or physical well-being.

KeywordsRepressive coping; Interpretive bias; Trait Anxiety
JournalAnxiety, Stress, & Coping: An International Journal
Journal citation28 (6), pp. 617-633
ISSN1061-5806 (Print)
1477-2205 (Online)
Year2015
PublisherRoutledge
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2015.1007047
Publication dates
Print26 Feb 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Aug 2015
Accepted07 Jan 2015
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Anxiety, Stress, & Coping: An International Journal on 26 February 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/10615806.2015.1007047.
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