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Avoidance of Bereavement-Related Stimuli in Chinese Individuals Experiencing Prolonged Grief: Evidence from a Dot-Probe Task.

Avoidance of Bereavement-Related Stimuli in Chinese Individuals Experiencing Prolonged Grief: Evidence from a Dot-Probe Task.

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsYu M, Tang S, Wang C, Xiang Z, Yu W, Xu W, Wang J, Prigerson HG
JournalFront Psychol
Volume8
Pagination1201
Date Published2017
ISSN1664-1078
Abstract

Attentional bias refers to a preference for (e.g., vigilance) or a shifting away (e.g., avoidance) of one's focus with respect to specific stimuli. Accumulating evidence suggests that an attentional bias toward death/threat-related stimuli exists in bereaved individuals experiencing prolonged grief (PG). Measuring for different processing may reflect different cognitive characteristics. Therefore, this study sought to compare information-processing biases in Chinese individuals with high versus low levels of PG symptomatology at supraliminal and subliminal levels, respectively. A 2 (grief level) × 2 (consciousness level) × 2 (word type) three-factor mixed design with supraliminal and subliminal tasks was utilized in the current study. Based on their Prolonged Grief Questionnaire-13 (PG-13) scores, 38 participants were included in the low-PG group, and 34 individuals were included in the high-PG group. All the participants completed a dot-probe task in which they were primed with death-related and life-related words paired with neutral stimuli. High-PG individuals were slower in reacting to the death-related information in both supraliminal and subliminal tasks. After controlling for other symptoms in the backward deletion regression, PG-13 scores significantly predicted the avoidance tendency to death-related words in the supraliminal task, while anxiety was the best predictor of turning one's vision away from death-related stimuli in the subliminal trials. The results suggested that high PG is associated with a tendency to avoid death-related words. Future research is needed to explore interventions that address the avoidance of death-related stimuli among individuals with elevated, or diagnosable, levels of PG.

DOI10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01201
Alternate JournalFront Psychol
PubMed ID28769844
PubMed Central IDPMC5511967

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