Document Detail

Autonomic correlates of illness imagery.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1635956     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Psychophysiological responses to imagery of self-relevant illness threats were examined for high and low extreme groups of hypervigilants and health care utilizers. Heart rate, skin conductance, and respiration were the physiological measures recorded; self-reports of perceived illness vulnerability, negative affect, image clarity, and image realness were the psychological measures obtained. Responses to neutral, exercise, and illness threat scenes were compared. Hypervigilants showed an increased heart rate response to imagery of illness scenes, whereas all other groups returned more quickly to baseline levels. The results are similar to those reported by Lang for snake phobics. They also lend some support to Horowitz's theory of intrusive imagery, in which self-relevant, anxiety-provoking events tend to continuously intrude upon one's thoughts, and this intrusive imagery was reflected cardiovascularly. There could be several possible underlying mechanisms for these findings.
S Brownlee; H Leventhal; M Balaban
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Psychophysiology     Volume:  29     ISSN:  0048-5772     ISO Abbreviation:  Psychophysiology     Publication Date:  1992 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1992-08-24     Completed Date:  1992-08-24     Revised Date:  2009-11-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0142657     Medline TA:  Psychophysiology     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  142-53     Citation Subset:  IM    
Psychology Department, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick.
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MeSH Terms
Acoustic Stimulation
Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology*
Body Image*
Galvanic Skin Response / physiology
Heart Rate / physiology
Hypochondriasis / physiopathology,  psychology*
Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
Grant Support

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