Interpreting ambiguous health and bodily threat: are individual differences in pain-related vulnerability constructs associated with an on-line negative interpretation bias?

L.M.G. Vancleef*, M.L. Peters, P.J. de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Downloads (Pure)


The present study examined the association between pain-related anxiety and an on-line interpretation bias for putative physical health threat. Healthy volunteers (n = 80) completed measures on Anxiety Sensitivity, Injury/illness Sensitivity, Fear of Pain and Pain Catastrophizing. Furthermore, they performed an interpretation task, in which spontaneous (on-line) inferences were indirectly assessed from reaction times and accuracy of a lexical decision to the final word of an ambiguous description. Results demonstrated a general facilitation of responses to final words that endorsed a health-threatening resolution of ambiguity (e.g., illness). This effect correlated positively with individual levels of Fear of Pain, but was found to be unrelated to levels of Anxiety Sensitivity, Injury/illness Sensitivity or Pain Catastrophizing. Implications of the findings and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

Cite this