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    Uncovering mechanisms that can help explain the experience and impact of anxiety in women is important for improving etiological models and treatments to meet the needs of unique individuals. An enlarged error-related negativity (ERN) - an electrophysiological marker of cognitive control-related error monitoring- represents one indicator of neural processes more strongly related to anxiety in women than men. In this study, we further examined this association in women by testing the moderating effect of hormonal contraceptive (HC) use on the relationship between worry - i.e., a transdiagnostic cognitive dimension of anxiety - and the ERN. Results revealed that HCs moderated the worry-ERN association. Specifically, we found a significant and large relationship between worry and enlarged ERN in women using HCs, which was smaller and nonsignificant in naturally cycling women (i.e., those not using HCs). These findings suggest that the interplay among HC use, error-related cognitive control, and worry represents a novel mechanism for better characterizing the expression and impact of worry in women. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Courtney C Louis, Chelsea Kneip, Tim P Moran, Adriene M Beltz, Kelly L Klump, Jason S Moser. Hormonal contraceptive use moderates the association between worry and error-related brain activity. International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology. 2022 Jan;171:48-54

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    PMID: 34856221

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