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See detailAltered interoceptive awareness in high habitual symptom reporters and patients with somatoform disorders
Flasinski, Tabea; Dierolf, Angelika UL; Rost, Silke et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2020), 11(1), 1859

Objective. Altered interoception may play a major role in the etiology of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). It remains unclear, however, if these alterations concerns noticing of signals or if they ... [more ▼]

Objective. Altered interoception may play a major role in the etiology of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). It remains unclear, however, if these alterations concerns noticing of signals or if they are limited to the interpretation of signals. We investigated whether individuals with MUS differ in interoceptive awareness as assessed with the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) questionnaire. Methods. Study 1: 486 individuals completed the Screening for Somatoform Disorders (SOMS-2). 32 individuals each of the upper and lower decile of the SOMS distribution (low symptom reporters/LSR, high symptom reporters/HSR) completed the MAIA. Study 2: MAIA scores of individuals diagnosed with somatoform disorder (SFD; n = 26) were compared to individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD; n = 25) and healthy controls (HC; n = 26). Results. HSR had lower scores than LSR on the MAIA scales Not-Distracting and Not-Worrying. The SFD and MDD groups showed lower scores than HC on the MAIA scales Not-Distracting, Self-Regulation, and Trusting. The MDD group scored lower than the other two groups on the scales Body Listening and Attention Regulation. There were no group differences on the scale Noticing. Conclusion. HSR, SFD and MDD patients do not differ from HC in the awareness of noticing of interoceptive signal processing, whereas cognitive facets of interoception, such as distraction or self-regulation are differentially affected. This highlights the necessity of including specifically targeted interventions, which improve interoceptive awareness, in the prevention and treatment of SFDs. [less ▲]

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See detailSensing Your Body: Interoceptive Awareness and Medically Unexplained Symptoms
Flasinski, Tabea UL; Dierolf, Angelika UL; Voderholzer, Ulrich et al

in Abtracts of the 32nd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society (2018)

According to contemporary theories of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), alterations in interoception play a major role in symptom development and maintenance. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying ... [more ▼]

According to contemporary theories of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), alterations in interoception play a major role in symptom development and maintenance. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying this relationship remains unclear. To address this unresolved issue, we investigated whether individuals with varying degrees of MUS differ in different facets of interoceptive awareness as assessed with the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) questionnaire. In study 1, 486 individuals were screened with an online version of the Screening for Somatoform Disorders (SOMS-2). Individuals with a SOMS index below 5 (low reporter, n=32) and above 20 (high reporter, n=32) were invited to fill in the MAIA. High symptom reporter had lower scores on the Not-Distracting, Not-Worrying, and Trusting subscales, and higher scores on the Emotional Awareness subscale (Cohen´s d=.70–1.16). In study 2, individuals with DSM-IV somatoform disorder (SFD; n=25) were compared to individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD; n=24) and healthy controls (HC; n=25). The SFD and MDD groups had lower scores on the Not-Distracting, Attention Regulation, Self-Regulation, and Trusting subscales than HC. The MDD group had lower scores than the SFD and HC groups on the Body Listening subscale (partial eta-squared=.18-.26). No differences with regard to Noticing of bodily sensations were found. Groups with subclinical SFD, SFD and MDD do not differ from healthy individuals in terms of actual body perception, whereas cognitive facets of interoception, such as distraction or self-regulation are differentially affected. This highlights the necessity of including specifically targeted mindfulness-based interventions [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired filter function in patients with somatoform disorders and major depression, as reflected by auditory evoked potentials in an oddball and an active distraction paradigm
Hutmacher, Djenna UL; Dierolf, Angelika UL; Lutz, Annika UL et al

in Abstractband Psychologie und Gehirn 2018 (2018)

Introduction: In the in influential perception-filter model of somatoform disorders (SD), three stages of symptom perception are postulated: (1) bodily signals, which may be amplified by stress, (2) a ... [more ▼]

Introduction: In the in influential perception-filter model of somatoform disorders (SD), three stages of symptom perception are postulated: (1) bodily signals, which may be amplified by stress, (2) a filter system, which distinguishes between relevant and irrelevant stimuli, and (3) cortical perception of physical symptoms. As there is dearth of evidence so far supporting the relationship between (1) bodily signals and (2) filter processes in SD, this study investigated if filter processes are altered in SD and if stress may affect filter mechanisms. Methods: Twenty-four patients with SD, 24 with depression and 24 healthy control individuals were assessed. Event-related potentials (ERPs) with two different auditory distraction procedures were recorded over four blocks, one before and three after either a socially evaluated cold pressor test (SECPT) or a control procedure. We manipulated both the frequency of and the attentional focus on stimuli to reflect filter processes. Results: We found smaller P3b amplitudes (reflecting memory storage) in patients with depression and SD, as compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, both patient groups showed a smaller P3a amplitude (reflecting attention), when counting the infrequent tone ("Oddball task") and a smaller N1 amplitude when counting the frequent tone ("active distraction"). In patients with SD, the SECPT had a decreasing effect on P3a amplitudes. Conclusions: Both late filter processes, reflecting attention (P3a) and memory storage (P3b), may be impaired in SD and depression. As acute stress affected attention in SD patients only, the impact of bodily signals (1) on filter processes (2) may be specific for SD. [less ▲]

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