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Clin Psychol Rev. 2002 May;22(4):587-627.

Memory biases in the anxiety disorders: current status.

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Adult Anxiety Clinic of Temple, Department of Psychology, Temple University, 1701 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6085, USA.


Information-processing models of emotional disorders suggest that anxious individuals may be characterized by a memory bias for threat-relevant information. This paper reviews and synthesizes evidence for explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious) memory biases in the anxiety disorders. Our review suggests variations among the anxiety disorders for explicit memory biases. Specifically, there is support for explicit memory biases for threat-relevant information in panic disorder (PD), particularly when information has been deeply encoded, but not in social phobia (SP) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The few available studies suggest the presence of explicit memory biases in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but further research is needed. In contrast, some degree of support for implicit memory biases has been demonstrated for each of the anxiety disorders. Inconsistencies in the existing literature, topics worthy of future research attention, and directions for revising existing information-processing models of anxiety are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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