Anxiety: Interpretation Biases in Non-Self-Relevant Scenarios vs. Self-Relevant Scenarios

Research Paper Title

Interpretation bias of high trait anxiety Chinese military servicemen in ambiguous military scenarios.

Background

Converging evidence reveals the negative interpretation bias in anxiety.

Given that anxiety is a severe psychological problem among Chinese military personnel, the present study examined whether high trait anxiety military personnel showed negative interpretation bias in real-world situations and whether their interpretations were influenced by self-relevance.

Methods

The sample included 24 high trait anxiety (H-TA) and 22 low trait anxiety (L-TA) Chinese military servicemen.

Participants completed 20 open-ended ambiguous scenarios by deciding how much they believed in the positive and negative ending of each sentence.

The 20 scenarios were designed according to real life in military and half of them were self-relevant and the others were non-self-relevant.

Results

A 2(group) ×2(self-relevance) ANOVA of positive and negative endings revealed that compared to L-TA, H-TA believed more in negative continuations and less in positive continuations.

Moderate correlations were found between samples’ believes in positive and negative endings and their trait anxiety scores.

Conclusions

Military personnel showed more positive interpretation biases in non-self-relevant scenarios than in self-relevant scenarios.

These findings are the first to show interpretation bias in military situations, and interventional strategies to modify servicemen’s interpretation bias could be designed according to military situations.

Reference

Zhang, F., Zhang, X., Mao, X., Chen, A., Yin, Q. & Deng, G. (2020) Interpretation bias of high trait anxiety Chinese military servicemen in ambiguous military scenarios. Medicine (Baltimore). 99(3), pp.e18746. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000018746.

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