Cognitive Models of Anxiety

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(2), 170–171. Reviews the book, Anxiety: The Cognitive Perspective by Michael W. Eysenck (1992). Eysenck's central thesis is subsumed under the heading “hypervigilance theory.” Here, he asserts the presence of a latent cognitive vulnerability (i.e., hypervigilance) that is associated with the development of at least some forms of clinical anxiety. Specifically, hypervigilance is posited as the central ingredient of cognitive vulnerability (evidenced in such ways as distractibihty, environmental visual scanning, and selective attention to threat stimuli). Eysenck's arguments might have been stronger had he ignored what was unique in the anxiety disorders and concentrated on the pathological process of clinical anxiety common to all of the anxiety disorders. It is this process that is most relevant to his thesis. However, this is but a quibble (or perhaps a wish for the next edition). This is an excellent book containing an important new model of the cognitive component of anxiety with which everyone in the field should be familiar. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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