Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Randall S. Jorgensen


Arousal, Emotion, Health belief, Modern Health Worries, Valence

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Modern health worries (MHW) represent individual differences in the perceived threat posed to health and well-being by aspects of modern life. Current evidence suggests that MHW are positively associated with trait negative emotionality, and given that trait negative emotionality is associated with state emotional reactivity to environmental stressors, it is reasonable to expect that persons with elevated MHW would show increased state emotional reactivity to MHW-related stimuli. Consequently, this study aimed to investigate the association of MHW with state emotional reactivity (i.e., valence and arousal) to MHW-related stimuli (i.e., images of air pollution). Combining these stimuli with other stimuli varying in valence and arousal allowed us to examine whether MHW are specifically associated with emotional reactivity induced by MHW-related stimuli. A total of 73 college students viewed 48 images encompassing eight different content areas, including a subset of MHW-related images (air pollution); each image was rated for valence and arousal. Participants also completed measures of MHW, trait negative emotionality (i.e., neuroticism), and demographics. After controlling for neuroticism and gender, results suggest that MHW only predicted valence rating for images of air pollution; conversely, MHW appears to be associated with arousal ratings in response to a variety of stimuli. Implications and limitations are discussed.


Open Access