Hypochondriasis : the relationship between self-verification and confirmatory biases along a continuum of illness beliefs

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexis A. Scanlon (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Len Lecci

Abstract: The present study examines how the role of illness fear activation affects the attentional biases of individuals varying in hypochondriacal tendencies. Participants were assigned to either a health protective condition or a health fear induction condition.Participants in the health fear induction condition were told that the presence of the enzyme PKR increases their susceptibility to meningitis. This feedback was intended to activate illness fears. In the health protective condition, the presence of the enzyme served as a preventative factor for meningitis, thus decreasing susceptibility and presumably minimizing illness fears. Participants then took part in a computer task in which they had the opportunity to choose from a series of confirming and disconfirming statements regarding the presence of a serious illness. Each set of information served as a makeshift doctor’s feedback. Following the completion of the computer task, all participants completed questionnaires assessing hypochondriacal tendencies and the presence and severity of meningitis symptoms. The results indicated a positive correlation between the two measures of hypochondriasis as well as a positive correlation between one of those measures and the selection of illness confirming information. As this study was intended to be an analog for the interaction between physicians and their hypochondriacal patients, implications for facilitating such interactions are discussed.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Hypochondria, Mental illness, Somatoform disorders
Mental illness
Somatoform disorders

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TitleLocation & LinkType of Relationship
Title Page, Table of Contents & Abstracthttp://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncw/f/scanlona2006-1.pdfThe described resource includes the related resource either physically or logically.
Literature Citedhttp://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncw/f/scanlona2006-3.pdfThe described resource includes the related resource either physically or logically.
Appendixhttp://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncw/f/scanlona2006-4.pdfThe described resource includes the related resource either physically or logically.