- The Illness Attidutes Scale (IAS) is one self-report measure that is used commonly by researchers
to assess heath anxiety. Consists reliably of four factors:
(1) worry about illness and pain (i.e. illness fears)
(2) disease conviction (i.e. illness beliefs)
(3) health habits (i.e. safety-seeking behaviours)
(4) symptom interference with lifestyle (i.e. disruptive effects
- Health anxiety is mostly learned.
- Cognitive factors are featured in the model of health anxiety outlined by Salkovskis and
Warwick. This model has four contributing factors:
(1) a critical precipitating incident
(2) a previous experience of illness and related medical factors
(3) the presence of inflexible negative cognitive assumptions (i.e. believing strongly that
unexplained bodily changes are always a sign of serious illness
(4) the severity of anxiety. The severity of anxiety is a function of two factors that will increase
anxiety and two that will decrease it.
o Health anxiety will increase multiplicatively as a function of related increases in (1)
perceived likelihood or probability of illness and (2) the perceived presence of rescue
factors (i.e the availability and perceived effectiveness of medical help).
In conversion disorder, physiologically normal people experience sensory or motor symptoms, such
as a sudden loss of vision or paralysis, suggesting an illness related to neurological damage of some sort,
although the body organs and nervous system are found to be fine.
- Sufferers may experience paralysis of arms or legs; seizures and coordination disturbances; a
sensation of prickling, tingling, or creeping on the skin; insensitivity to pain; or the loss or
impairment of sensations, called anaesthesias.
- Vision may be severely impaired, the person may become partially or completely blind or have
- Aphonia, loss of the voice and all but whispered speech and anosmia, loss or impairment of the
sense of smell, are other conversion disorders.
- Conversion symptoms appear suddenly in stressful situations, allowing the individual to a