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Individual differences in affective flexibility predict future anxiety and worry

(2021) COGNITION & EMOTION. 35(2). p.425-434
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Abstract
Deficits in cognitive flexibility have been associated with anxiety and worry, however few studies have assessed cognitive flexibility in the context of emotional stimuli (i.e. affective flexibility). The present study (n = 79) investigated whether individual differences in affective flexibility predict levels of trait anxiety and worry over a period of seven weeks. Affective flexibility was measured using a task-switching paradigm. Results showed that less efficient shifting of attention towards affective aspects of positive stimuli predicted higher anxiety over time. Additionally, more efficient shifting of attention away from affective towards non-affective aspects of negative stimuli predicted higher anxiety and worry over time. This latter finding may be understood by considering theoretical models and empirical evidence associating avoidance of negative information with increased anxiety. The effects were small and require replication in larger, representative samples, but they are an initial indication that anxiety may not be associated with general impairments in cognitive flexibility. Instead, our study emphasises the importance of breaking down cognitive flexibility into different components to investigate more nuanced relationships.
Keywords
Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), Developmental and Educational Psychology, Cognitive flexibility, affective flexibility, anxiety, worry, COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY, ATTENTIONAL BIAS, TRAIT ANXIETY, DEFICITS, MODEL

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Twivy, Eve, et al. “Individual Differences in Affective Flexibility Predict Future Anxiety and Worry.” COGNITION & EMOTION, vol. 35, no. 2, 2021, pp. 425–34, doi:10.1080/02699931.2020.1843407.
APA
Twivy, E., Grol, M., & Fox, E. (2021). Individual differences in affective flexibility predict future anxiety and worry. COGNITION & EMOTION, 35(2), 425–434. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2020.1843407
Chicago author-date
Twivy, Eve, Maud Grol, and Elaine Fox. 2021. “Individual Differences in Affective Flexibility Predict Future Anxiety and Worry.” COGNITION & EMOTION 35 (2): 425–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2020.1843407.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Twivy, Eve, Maud Grol, and Elaine Fox. 2021. “Individual Differences in Affective Flexibility Predict Future Anxiety and Worry.” COGNITION & EMOTION 35 (2): 425–434. doi:10.1080/02699931.2020.1843407.
Vancouver
1.
Twivy E, Grol M, Fox E. Individual differences in affective flexibility predict future anxiety and worry. COGNITION & EMOTION. 2021;35(2):425–34.
IEEE
[1]
E. Twivy, M. Grol, and E. Fox, “Individual differences in affective flexibility predict future anxiety and worry,” COGNITION & EMOTION, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 425–434, 2021.
@article{8693213,
  abstract     = {{Deficits in cognitive flexibility have been associated with anxiety and worry, however few studies have assessed cognitive flexibility in the context of emotional stimuli (i.e. affective flexibility). The present study (n = 79) investigated whether individual differences in affective flexibility predict levels of trait anxiety and worry over a period of seven weeks. Affective flexibility was measured using a task-switching paradigm. Results showed that less efficient shifting of attention towards affective aspects of positive stimuli predicted higher anxiety over time. Additionally, more efficient shifting of attention away from affective towards non-affective aspects of negative stimuli predicted higher anxiety and worry over time. This latter finding may be understood by considering theoretical models and empirical evidence associating avoidance of negative information with increased anxiety. The effects were small and require replication in larger, representative samples, but they are an initial indication that anxiety may not be associated with general impairments in cognitive flexibility. Instead, our study emphasises the importance of breaking down cognitive flexibility into different components to investigate more nuanced relationships.}},
  author       = {{Twivy, Eve and Grol, Maud and Fox, Elaine}},
  issn         = {{0269-9931}},
  journal      = {{COGNITION & EMOTION}},
  keywords     = {{Experimental and Cognitive Psychology,Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous),Developmental and Educational Psychology,Cognitive flexibility,affective flexibility,anxiety,worry,COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY,ATTENTIONAL BIAS,TRAIT ANXIETY,DEFICITS,MODEL}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{2}},
  pages        = {{425--434}},
  title        = {{Individual differences in affective flexibility predict future anxiety and worry}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2020.1843407}},
  volume       = {{35}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}

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