Body awareness: Differentiating between sensitivity to and monitoring of bodily signals

Karni Ginzburg*, Noga Tsur, Ayelet Barak-Nahum, Ruti Defrin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sensitivity to bodily signals is the tendency to be aware of bodily states and to identify subtle bodily reactions to internal and environmental conditions. Monitoring these signals is a top-down process, describing individuals' tendency to actively scan their bodies in order to detect cues for their physical condition. Two studies examined the relations between these constructs and their adaptivity among young adults. In Study 1, 180 young adults completed questionnaires assessing sensitivity, monitoring, and hypochondriac tendency. In Study 2, 205 students reported their levels of sensitivity, monitoring, pain catastrophizing, and trait anxiety. Although monitoring and sensitivity were correlated, when controlling for their shared variance, only monitoring was associated with high hypochondriac tendency and anxiety. In addition, the adaptivity of sensitivity to bodily signals was dependent on both level of monitoring of bodily signals and pain catastrophizing. That is, pain catastrophizing moderated the effect of sensitivity and monitoring on anxiety. These findings suggest that the adaptivity of sensitivity is determined by the mode of attention characterizing the individual engaged in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-575
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Body awareness
  • Monitoring
  • Pain catastrophizing
  • Sensitivity


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