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[Anxiety and anxiolysis: on the need for differentiated characterization of anxiety from the experimental and biopsychological viewpoint].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Psychologie, Technischen Universität Berlin.


Characterization and operationalization of anxiety point to the problem of the homogenity of the construct "anxiety". Results of experimental studies show that one and the same increase in subjective anxiety can be related to systematically different autonomic-physiological processes. Accordingly, (1) an unspecific increase in ANS-arousal is not, as usually assumed, a basic characteristic of anxiety and (2) indicators of experienced anxiety, which often have a key-role in inferring a state of anxiety, do not allow a sufficient differentiation of this state. The integration of the results in experimentally based biopsychological theories of emotion and the application to the preoperative situation underline the necessity of a more differentiated characterization of anxiety, also and especially with regard to possibilities of a pharmacological anxiolysis.

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