A psychometric comparison of anxiety-relevant attention measures

Travis C. Evans, Katherine A. Walukevich, Ilana Seager, Jennifer C. Britton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Preferential attention to threat, emotional response inhibition, and attentional control each purportedly play a key role in anxiety disorders. Divergent psychometric properties among attention measures may produce differential detection of anxiety-related associations and treatment-related changes. However, no studies have directly compared the psychometric properties of these attention measures in the same sample. Design: Eighty-five young adults (M = 19.41 years, SD = 1.47, 48 Females) completed a cognitive task battery and a subset of 60 participants (M = 19.42 years, SD = 1.48, 33 Females) completed the task battery again approximately two weeks later. Method: To assess preferential attention to threat, emotional response inhibition, and attentional control, the cognitive task battery included a dot-probe task, emotion and gender Stroop tasks, and a flanker task. Tasks varied in how attention was directed and if emotional stimuli were included. Internal consistency and test-retest reliability were compared across measures. Results: Within the same sample, internal consistency and reliability differed across attention measures. Explicit attention measures (emotional Stroop and flanker) exhibited stronger internal consistency and greater test-retest reliability compared to implicit measures (dot-probe and gender Stroop). Conclusions: These results inform clinical research using attention measures to assess anxiety-related differences and treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-554
Number of pages16
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2018


  • Psychometric properties
  • anxiety
  • attention
  • cognitive tasks
  • information processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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