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Title: Does the attentional control scale measure attentional control? Evidence of no relationship with antisaccade performance
Authors: Todd, Jemma
Notebaert, Lies
Clarke, Patrick J.F.
Issue Date: 7-Jul-2020
Publisher: PsychArchives
Abstract: Attentional control theory indicates a relationship between poor attentional control and heightened anxiety vulnerability. While attentional control is often assessed via self-report, there is inconsistency as to whether such self-report measures (in particular the Attentional Control Scale) provide an indication of genuine attentional control abilities. The present study sought to determine the presence or absence of a relationship between questionnaire and behavioural measures of attentional control, and to examine the association between these measures and psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, in a large non-clinical sample. Undergraduate students and individuals from the community (final sample n= 207) completed the Attentional Control Scale and measures of psychological distress (depression, anxiety, stress), as well as the antisaccade task as an objective measure of attentional control. Antisaccade performance was significantly associated with both anxiety (r= -.187) and stress (r= -.195). Self-reported attentional control also correlated significantly with all measures of psychological distress (r= -.307 to -.459). Critically however, there was no evidence for an association between full or subscale measures on the Attentional Control Scale and antisaccade performance (r= .027 to .078). Bayesian analyses indicated moderate to strong evidence that the null hypothesis is true (B10= 0.094 - 0.161), suggesting that this finding was likely to represent the genuine absence of an association. The present study is consistent with growing evidence that self-reported measures of attentional control are not in fact measuring variation in attentional control abilities, and speaks to the importance of incorporating objective assessments of attentional control in research.
Citation: Todd, J., Notebaert, L., & Clarke, P. J. F. (2020). Does the attentional control scale measure attentional control? Evidence of no relationship with antisaccade performance. PsychArchives.
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