The NPU-threat test in high and low anxiety individuals - An ambulatory assessment (pilot) study.

I love that it is so easy to use and yet so flexible.

Melissa Langer und Daniela Roerig

At a Glance


  • Context: -
  • Number of participants: 30
  • Number of days per participants: 4
  • Number of prompst per Day: 8
  • Number of Items: 16-21


While fear is proposed to be an adaptive state of apprehension to an imminent threat {phasicfear); anxiety is a more sustained state leading to tension and worry (sustained fear). The NPU-threat test is an acoustic startle paradigm that was shown to distinguish fear-and anxiety-potentiated reactions. However, it is not known ifinter-individual response differences in this laboratory paradigm are related tofear in rea/life.

To explore this association we wont to expose 15 high and 151ow anxious (measured via State-TraitAnxiety-Depression-Inventory) otherwise healthy participants to the NPU-threat test in a laboratory context and to an ambulatory assessment (AA) at 4 consecutive work days. Each day the subjects will be beeped quasi-randomly 8 times between 09 am and 09 pm by a smartphone. At each alarm the anxiety scale of the State-Trait-Anxiety-Depression-Inventory is going to be presented via the app "MovisensXS" with five items ofthis scale assessing agitation ("Aufgeregtheit") andfive items assessing worry ("Besorgtheit''). We conceptualize the agitation component as measure ofphasicfear while the worry component serves as measurefor sustained fear. Analysis will be performed using multi-level modelling. We hypothesize that there is a positive association between measures of "Aufgeregtheit" and "Besorgnis" during AA and the fear-and anxiety-potentiated startle measured in the laboratory mediated by high and low trait anxiety. In particular, we assume that there are higher associations between anxiety-potentiated startle and "Besorgnis" as well as betweenfearpotentiated startle and "Aufgeregtheit''.

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