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1- Psychology Department, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
2- Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
Introduction: Cognitive emotion regulation is suggested to contribute to illness anxiety. Reappraisal and suppression are two important regulatory strategies that literature is controversial about their roles in illness anxiety. The studies in this area were mostly limited to studying these two strategies in people without illness anxiety. Therefore, we aimed to study the role of emotion regulation in the psychopathology of illness anxiety through evaluating other regulatory strategies in illness-anxious individuals. Furthermore, we investigated the relationship between illness anxiety and emotion regulation by targeting the role of interpretation bias for health-related information.
Methods: Participants were 60 university students underwent a semi-structured clinical interview to assess the presence or absence of illness anxiety symptoms (30 in each group). They completed a battery of questionnaires measuring illness anxiety, emotion regulation and interpretation bias.
Results: The illness-anxious group applied significantly less reappraisal and refocus on planning and more rumination, catastrophizing, and acceptance than the control group. Besides, interpretation bias had positive correlations with rumination and catastrophizing while its association with reappraisal and planning was negative.
Conclusion: Both functional (such as reappraisal and planning) and dysfunctional strategies (such as rumination and catastrophizing) contribute to the psychopathology of illness anxiety. Biased interpretation of bodily information would make people ruminate about the catastrophic consequences of bodily changes that interrupt more positive reappraisal or practical problem-solving strategies.
Type of Study: Original | Subject: Cognitive Neuroscience
Received: 2018/05/12 | Accepted: 2018/11/5 | Published: 2018/03/15

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