Cognitive factors

It has been suggested that cognitive processes may also be important in the generation of hypochondriasis. (l566) According to these theories, faulty cognitive appraisal of bodily sensations is the central defect in hypochondriasis. Indeed, a number of studies have shown that attribution of sensations to pathological processes increases symptoms/,67ยป Such attribution may, in turn, focus attention upon symptoms and, in the process, amplify them. Misattribution of this sort may be based on cognitive schemas established by earlier illness experience. (68> Thus, experience of serious illness may provide a framework for interpreting new sensations and may, at the same time, increase a person's vigilance toward future illness.

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