Low Attentional Control and the Development of Intrusive Memories Following a Laboratory Stressor

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This study tested whether low attentional control set people at risk for experiencing undesirable intrusions. Participants completed measures of attentional control and neuroticism and subsequently watched an emotional film fragment. In the four days following the presentation of the fragment, half of the participants (n = 17) were asked to keep a diary for the registration of intrusive memories. The other half of the participants (n = 16) only rated the number of intrusions retrospectively during the follow-up session. Low attentional control had independent predicting properties for the development of intrusive symptoms in the diary group. No such relationship was found in the no-diary controls, probably due to the relatively low frequency of intrusive symptoms that was elicited in this group.

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