The interactive role of worried mood and trait anxiety in the selective processing of subliminally presented threat words

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of the present study was threefold: (a) to replicate the finding by MacLeod and Rutherford (1992) that low trait-anxious individuals, in contrast to high trait-anxious individuals, show a selective attention away from subliminally presented threat words at elevated levels of stress; (b) to test the hypothesis that this effect is due to individuals with repressive coping-style rather than true low trait-anxious individuals; and (c) to study the stability of Stroop interference over time. Both social threat and physical threat words were used. Although some support was found for the first hypothesis, there was no evidence that this effect was due to individuals with repressive coping-style. Finally, Stroop interference showed very little test-retest stability from the first to the second testing session, indicating that it is heavily influenced by temporary cognitive-emotional states, and that it should not be treated as a trait variable. Unexpectedly, high defensiveness predicted a decrease in worried mood from session 1 to session 2. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • trait anxiety, attention, worried mood
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1204
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch