Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Advancement of Respiratory Psychophysiology (ISARP) location:Orlando, FL date:28-30 September 2012
The concept of interoceptive or body awareness has raised substantial interest of the researchers within health-related domain, resulting in considerable number of self-report instruments. A recent review (Mehling et al., 2009), however, revealed several limitations of the measures used. Recently, we developed the Interoceptive Awareness Questionnaire (IAQ) to respond to two main criticisms on existing questionnaires: (a) the lack of a clear distinction between sensations and symptoms and (b) the limited number of interoceptive response channels. The IAQ is a 19-item multi-modal self-report measure assessing attention to and awareness of interoceptive stimuli. The items consist of descriptions of both neutral and negative bodily experiences for various modalities. Exploratory factor analysis performed on a large sample (N=1279) revealed two subscales: awareness of bodily sensations, referring to sensory processes related to perceiving information from within the body, and attention to unpleasant bodily sensations, denoting experiences of bodily information in a negative manner. The latter implies an appraisal process, characterized by a cognitive elaboration and a negative affective quality. Both subscales present good psychometric properties, with Cronbach α’s of .69 and .66. Convergent and divergent validity have been investigated among student groups (N=441 to N=1356) with use of various questionnaires assessing: symptom reporting, positive and negative affectivity, fear of pain and pain catastrophizing, anxiety sensitivity, claustrophobia and arachnophobia. In comparison to the first subscale, the attention to unpleasant bodily sensations correlates moderately to highly with negative affectivity, pain catastrophizing and anxiety. The discrepancy between correlational patterns of the two subscales may shed light on the underlying mechanisms that differentiate between adaptive and maladaptive aspects of interoceptive awareness.