Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 546–554 | Cite as

Dynamic measures of anxiety-related threat bias: Links to stress reactivity

  • Laura J. Egan
  • Tracy A. Dennis-Tiwary
Original Paper


Exaggerated attention to threatening information, or the threat bias, has been implicated in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders. Recent research has highlighted methodological limitations in threat bias measures, such as temporal insensitivity, leading to the development of novel metrics that capture change and variability in threat bias over time. These metrics, however, have rarely been examined in non-clinical samples. The present study aimed to explore the utility of these trial-level metrics in predicting anxiety-related stress reactivity (stress-induced negative mood state) in trait anxious adults (N = 52). Following a stressor, participants completed the dot probe task to generate threat bias scores. Stress reactivity was measured via stress-induced changes in subjective mood state. More variability in trial-level bias scores (TL-BSs) and greater bias away from threat (both mean and peak negative TL-BSs) predicted increased stress reactivity. The temporal characteristics of threat bias and implications for clinically-relevant measurement are discussed.


Anxiety Threat bias Trial-level bias score Stress reactivity 



The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIMHD or the NIH.


This research was made possible by grant SC1MH104907 awarded to TDT from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and grant R56MH111700 awarded to TDT from the National Institute of Mental Health, both of the National Institutes of Health. This research was also made possible by grant TR000457 of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Francis CollegeBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Hunter CollegeThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.The Graduate School and University CenterThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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