Construction and validation of an Emotional Stroop Task to assess attention bias in women with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Attention bias for stimuli perceived as threatening can be involved on the cause or maintenance of anxiety disorders. This study aimed to construct and test an Emotional Stroop task to evaluate the existence of bias for threatening words in women with Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD). Participants were 22 women, 12 diagnosed with GAD and 10 matched control. Anxiogenic words and control words were selected from the bank of words ANEW and 6 experienced psychotherapists selected the final list. All participants showed attention bias for threatening words with no differences between the groups. The task was sufficiently sensitive to detect attention bias and can be useful to detect attention bias concerning stimuli perceived as threatening and to evaluate future clinical interventions.

attention; selective attention; anxiety; anxiety disorders

Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Filosofia Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicologia Av.Bandeirantes 3900 - Monte Alegre, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto - São Paulo - Brasil, Tel.: (55 16) 3315-3829 - Ribeirão Preto - SP - Brazil