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Shifting and Focusing Examined in Clinical Sample

J Affect Disord; 2019 Apr 1; Hsu, Forgeard, et al

In contrast to studies conducted in non-clinical samples, attentional focusing appears to be more relevant than attentional shifting in a clinical sample for both depression and anxiety symptoms, according to a recent investigation. These findings, therefore, lend support to efforts to develop neurocognitive interventions that improve focusing. Adults (n=493) presenting for psychiatric treatment completed measures of depressive and anxiety symptom severity and self-reported attentional control. Hierarchical linear regression and Zou's confidence interval method were used to examine the relationship between clinical symptoms and attentional control. Researchers found:

  • Both shifting and focusing were significantly correlated with anxiety and depressive symptoms in this sample.
  • However, focusing was more strongly associated with clinical symptomatology than shifting, which showed a weak correlation.

Hsu KJ, Forgeard M, Stein AT, Beard C, Björgvinsson T. Examining differential relationships among self-reported attentional control, depression, and anxiety in a transdiagnostic clinical sample. J Affect Disord. 2019;248:29-33. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2019.01.017.