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Conscious thought during the resting state in patients with severe health anxiety and patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

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The resting state is a commonly used paradigm in neuroimaging studies that has demonstrated differences in functional connectivity during rest in anxiety disorders, compared to healthy controls. Surprisingly, the psychological aspects (e.g., thoughts, feelings) during the resting state have largely been ignored in clinical populations, while increasingly studied in healthy populations. To the knowledge of the authors, this is the first study to examine the cognitive and affective experiences of resting state cognition in patients with psychiatric disorders. In the present study, 31 patients with severe health anxiety, 32 patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and 32 control participants completed a 3-min resting state task, followed by a standardized questionnaire developed specifically to assess thoughts and feelings experienced during the resting period. Compared to healthy controls, both patient groups reported more discontinuity of mind, more negative feelings, more health concern and less comfort during rest. Patients with OCD reported more visual thought than the other groups. When controlling for depressive symptoms, patients with severe health anxiety reported more health concern than did patients with OCD. The study highlights the importance and informative value of examining qualities of resting state cognition (e.g., the subjective feeling of reduced control over one's thoughts, experiencing negative feelings) in health anxiety and OCD, and introduces psychological assessment of resting state cognition as a viable paradigm in the study of clinical disorders.

TidsskriftPsychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice
Sider (fra-til)207-217
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2020

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