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Physiological and psychological measures in anxious patients

  • Alyson J. Bond (a1), D. Colin James (a1) and Malcolm H. Lader (a1)

Thirty drug-free patients suffering from chronic anxiety states were compared with 30 normal controls matched for age, sex, and social class on a variety of physiological and psychological measures. The tests included the electroencephalogram, the auditory evoked response, and skin conductance recorded during a passive and an active condition and auditory reaction time, the digit symbol substitution test, and arithmetic. The patients showed increased EEG voltage, shorter latencies of the evoked response, higher skin conductance levels, higher pulse rate and less pupillary constriction, and they responded less to the increase in activation. They also showed impairment on complex psychological tests. It is concluded that pathological anxiety involves an increase in arousal irrelevant to the task and has a disorganizing rather than a facilitating effect on performance.

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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
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