Experimental modification of interpretation bias about animal fear in young children: effects on cognition, avoidance behavior, anxiety vulnerability, and physiological responding

K. Lester, A P. Field, P. Muris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of experimentally modifying interpretation biases for children's cognitions, avoidance behavior, anxiety vulnerability, and physiological responding. Sixty-seven children (6-11 years) were randomly assigned to receive a positive or negative interpretation bias modification procedure to induce interpretation biases toward or away from threat about ambiguous situations involving Australian marsupials. Children rapidly learned to select outcomes of ambiguous situations, which were congruent with their assigned condition. Furthermore, following positive modification, children's threat biases about novel ambiguous situations significantly decreased, whereas threat biases significantly increased after negative modification. In response to a stress-evoking behavioral avoidance test, positive modification attenuated behavioral avoidance compared to negative modification. However, no significant effects of bias modification on anxiety vulnerability or physiological responses to this stress-evoking Behavioral Avoidance Task were observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-877
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ADOLESCENTS
  • ANXIOUS CHILDREN
  • CHILDHOOD ANXIETY
  • DISORDER
  • EXPERIMENTAL MANIPULATION
  • RELIABILITY
  • STRESS
  • THREAT PERCEPTION
  • TRAIT ANXIETY
  • VERBAL INFORMATION PATHWAY

Cite this