Atypical Sensory Modulation and Psychological Distress in the General Population

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE. Atypical sensory modulation (ASM) is characterized by over- or underresponsiveness to sensory stimuli in one or more sensory systems. Faulty sensory information processing could result in anxiety. Because the relation between ASM and psychological distress has not been examined, we explored psychological distress and ASM in the general population.

METHOD. A community-based sample of 204 adults (105 men; mean age = 27.4 yr, standard deviation = 3.71) completed the Sensory Responsiveness Questionnaire—Intensity Scale (SRQ–IS; Bar-Shalita, Seltzer, Vatine, Yochman, & Parush, 2009); the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI; Derogatis & Coons, 1993); and the Short Form—36 Health Survey, Version 2 (SF–36; Ware, Kosinski, & Gandek, 2005).

RESULTS. The ASM group displayed considerably more distress symptoms than the comparison group. Multivariate linear regression showed SRQ–IS and SF–36 scores as significant predictors of BSI score (r = .64).

CONCLUSION. ASM may be a risk factor for developing other mental health concerns.

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