Title

Cognitive and Perceptual Variables In Hypochondriasis and Health Anxiety: A Systematic Review

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2007

Department

Psychology

Abstract

This review examined (a) whether hypochondriacal/health-anxious individuals hold distinct assumptions about health and illness, (b) if triggering these assumptions leads to increased hypochondriacal concerns, and (c) whether these individuals perceive their bodily sensations differently from others (i.e., experience greater somatosensory amplification). There was clear evidence that health anxiety is related dysfunctional health-related beliefs. Few studies have examined how hypochondriacal concerns are triggered, and inconsistent results emerged from those that have. Health anxiety is also associated with self-reported higher levels of somatosensory amplification. However, there was little evidence that individuals high in health anxiety are actually more accurate perceivers of the their own autonomic processes. Although the results generally supported the central tenets of the cognitive-behavioral model of hypochondriasis and health anxiety, further research will be necessary to determine whether these beliefs are specific to hypochondriasis and to identify any cognitive processes that may be unique to hypochondriasis. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Clinical Psychology Review

Volume

27

Issue

2

First Page

127

Last Page

139