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The Impact of Attention Bias Modification Training and Attentional Control on the Salivary Cortisol and Alpha Amylase response to Acute Psychosocial Stress

Title:

The Impact of Attention Bias Modification Training and Attentional Control on the Salivary Cortisol and Alpha Amylase response to Acute Psychosocial Stress

Pilgrim, Kamala (2015) The Impact of Attention Bias Modification Training and Attentional Control on the Salivary Cortisol and Alpha Amylase response to Acute Psychosocial Stress. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT
The Impact of Attention Bias Modification Training and Attentional Control on the Salivary Cortisol and Alpha Amylase Response to Acute Psychosocial Stress

Kamala Pilgrim, Ph.D.
Concordia university, 2015

Attention bias modification (ABM) training has demonstrated potential in decreasing symptoms of anxiety, particularly in clinical populations. However, there is a paucity of research examining the impact of this training on physiological adaptation to stress, important for health. The objective of this dissertation was to examine whether ABM training can attenuate the salivary cortisol and alpha amylase (sAA) response to an acute psychosocial stressor. In study 1, university students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: ABM training with supraliminal stimuli, ABM training with masked stimuli, or a control task with no ABM training. The ABM training was a spatial cueing task where participants were implicitly trained to shift attention towards happy faces and away from angry ones. Following the training intervention, participants underwent the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Unexpectedly, the two ABM training interventions were associated with higher rather than lower salivary cortisol and sAA responses to stress post-intervention. Moderation analyses indicated that participants with high baseline attentional control exhibited elevated cortisol responses to stress following both ABM trainings, relative to those with low attentional control.
Study 2 aimed to determine whether the heightened stress response to the ABM training could be attributed to the type of ABM paradigm used (spatial cueing) and/or the type of control task used. The spatial cueing ABM training with supraliminal stimuli employed in study 1 was compared to the more frequently used dot probe training, which fosters change by training participants to allocate attention to positive relative to negative stimuli when they are presented simultaneously. Participants also underwent a second TSST approximately two months post-training. Consistent with study 1, spatial cueing ABM training led to elevated cortisol levels during the first TSST relative to a no training control condition. Both ABM interventions however, reduced cortisol reactivity at the follow-up TSST relative to the first one. Importantly, those in the active training groups with lower baseline attentional control showed greater cortisol attenuation during the follow-up TSST compared to those with higher attentional control. Overall, this work suggests that the use of ABM interventions to reduce stress reactivity should be pursued with caution.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Pilgrim, Kamala
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:11 May 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ellenbogen, Mark
ID Code:980365
Deposited By: KAMALA PILGRIM
Deposited On:28 Oct 2015 12:51
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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