Attentional processes, anxiety, and the regulation of cortisol reactivity

Bradley Applehans, Linda Luecken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Attentional processing biases have been demonstrated in trait anxious individuals. The current study evaluated the interaction of trait anxiety and attentional bias in the regulation of cortisol responses to threat cues. Undergraduates ( N =63) completed a dot-probe task featuring social threat words. Trait anxiety was associated with avoidance of threat cues. Attentional avoidance predicted decreased cortisol responses at higher levels of trait anxiety, and elevated cortisol responses at lower levels of trait anxiety. The results suggest that attentional processes are involved in the regulation of physiological arousal for anxious individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Attentional bias
  • Cortisol
  • Dot-probe task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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