Anxiety Research

COVID-19, attentional bias, and trait anxiety

Click here for the article published by Frontiers in Psychiatry. Anxious individuals selectively attend to threatening information, but it remains unclear whether attentional bias can be generalized to traumatic events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies suggested that specific threats related to personal experiences can elicit more substantial attentional bias than general threats. The …

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Defense mechanisms as predictors of anxiety and self-esteem—A multiple regression analysis.

Click here for the article published by Psychoanalytic Psychology (APA) anxiety. Psychoanalytic Psychology, Vol 40(4), Oct 2023, 348-353; doi:10.1037/pap0000459 Defense mechanisms are supposed to help us deal with stress by decreasing anxiety and preserving our self-esteem. The aim of the present study was to determine which defense styles and specific defense mechanisms have the strongest …

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Transdiagnostic treatment of depression and anxiety: a meta-analysis

BackgroundIn the past 10 years an increasing number of randomised trials have examined the effects of transdiagnostic treatments of patients with depression or anxiety. We conducted the first comprehensive meta-analysis of the outcomes of this emerging field.MethodsWe used the searches in PubMed, PsychINFO, Embase and the Cochrane library of an existing database of randomised trials of psychological interventions for depression to identify studies comparing a transdiagnostic treatment of patients with depression or anxiety with a control group (deadline 1 January 2022). We conducted random-effects meta-analyses and examined the effects on depression and anxiety at the short and longer term.ResultsWe included 45 randomised controlled trials with 51 comparisons between a psychotherapy and a control group and 5530 participants. Thirty-five (78%) studies were conducted in the last 10 years. The overall effect size was g = 0.54 (95% CI 0.40–0.69; NNT = 5.87), with high heterogeneity (I2 = 78; 95% CI 71–83), and a broad PI (−0.31–1.39). The effects remained significant in a series of sensitivity analyses, including exclusion of outliers, adjustment for publication bias, for studies with low risk of bias, and in multilevel analyses. The results were comparable for depression and anxiety separately. At 6 months after randomisation the main effects were still significant, but not at 12 months, although the number of studies was small.ConclusionsTransdiagnostic treatments of patients with depression or anxiety are increasingly examined and are probably effective at the short term.

Adolescent use of the Internet and symptoms of depression and anxiety

BackgroundThe extent to which digital media use by adolescents contributes to poor mental health, or vice-versa, remains unclear. The purpose of the present study is to clarify the strength and direction of associations between adolescent internet use and the development of depression symptoms using a longitudinal modeling approach. We also examine whether associations differ for boys and girls.MethodsData are drawn from (N = 1547) participants followed for the Quebec longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD 1998–2020). Youth self-reported internet use in terms of the average hours of use per week at the ages of 13, 15, and 17. Youth also self-reported depression symptoms at the same ages.ResultsAfter testing sex-invariance, random intercepts cross-lagged panel models stratified by sex, revealed that internet use by girls was associated with significant within-person (time-varying) change in depression symptoms. Girl’s internet use at age 13 was associated with increased depression symptoms at age 15 (ß = 0.12) and internet use at age 15 increased depression at age 17 (ß = 0.10). For boys, internet use was not associated with significant time varying change in depression symptoms.ConclusionsThe present findings support the hypothesis that internet use by adolescents can represent a significant risk factor for the development of depressive symptoms, particularly in girls.

Depression, anxiety common among college students

Depression and anxiety among college students is a growing public health problem. And new research suggests the problem may be worse for students who aren’t the same race as most of their peers. The new study found that students who were not the majority race at a predominantly white college reported significantly higher rates of depression than their white peers. At the mostly white university, more than half of the students who self-identified as races other than white reported feelings of mild depression. An additional 17% said they were experiencing moderate to severe depression.

Incongruent gestures slow the processing of facial expressions in university students with social anxiety

In recent years, an increasing number of studies have examined the mechanisms underlying nonverbal emotional information processing in people with high social anxiety (HSA). However, most of these studies have focused on the processing of facial expressions, and there has been scarce research on gesture or even face-gesture combined processing in HSA individuals. The present study explored the processing characteristics and mechanism of the interaction between gestures and facial expressions in people with HSA and low social anxiety (LSA). The present study recruited university students as participants and used the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale scores to distinguish the HSA and LSA groups. We used a 2 (group: HSA and LSA) × 2 (emotion valence: positive, negative) × 2 (task: face, gesture) multifactor mixed design, and videos of a single face or gesture and combined face-gesture cues were used as stimuli. We found that (1) there is a distinction in the processing of faces and gestures, with individuals recognizing gestures faster than faces; (2) there is an attentional enhancement in the processing of gestures, particularly for negative gestures; and (3) when the emotional valence of faces and gestures align, it facilitates the recognition of both. However, incongruent gestures have a stronger impact on the processing of facial expressions compared to facial expressions themselves, suggesting that the processing of facial emotions is more influenced by environmental cues provided by gestures. These findings indicated that gestures played an important role in emotional processing, and facial emotional processing was more dependent on the environmental cues derived from gestures, which helps to clarify the reasons for biases in the interpretation of emotional information in people with HSA.

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