Cognitive Biases in Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia: A Review

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Blood-injection-injury (BII) phobia can lead to avoidance of crucial medical procedures and to detrimental health consequences, even among health workers. Yet unlike other specific phobias, BII phobia has been understudied. Specifically, while cognitive biases have been extensively investigated in other anxiety disorders, little is known about the same biases in BII phobia. The current article reviews cognitive biases in BII phobia and suggest future directions for further study and treatment. The reviewed biases include attention, expectancy, memory, perception, and interpretation biases. The investigation of these biases is highly relevant, as cognitive biases have been found to interact with anxiety symptoms. Results showed that attention, expectancy, and memory biases are involved in BII phobia, while no studies were found on interpretation nor perception biases. Mixed results were found for attention bias, as different studies found different components of attention bias, while others found no attention bias at all. Similarly, some studies found a-priori/a-posteriori expectancy biases, while other studies found only one type of bias. A better understanding of the cognitive particularities of BII phobia may lead to better treatments and ultimately reduce avoidance of needles and blood-related situations, thereby enabling individuals with BII phobia to undergo potentially life-saving medical procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number678891
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Abado, Aue and Okon-Singer.


  • anxiety disorders
  • bias
  • blood injection injury phobia
  • cognition
  • review
  • specific phobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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