Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia

Seefeldt WL, Kraemer M, Tuschen-Caffier B, Heinrichs N (2014)
Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry 45(1): 105-112.

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Background and objectives: Attentional bias towards threat in socially anxious adults is well documented; however, research on this bias in children with social phobia is rather scarce. The present study investigates whether the hypervigilance-avoidance hypothesis also applies to children with social phobia. Methods: Thirty children (aged 8-12) with social phobia and 43 control children participated in an eye-tracking experiment while their attentional distribution was recorded. Social anxiety was induced in half of the children before the eye-tracking task. Stimuli were presented for 3000 ms, and bias scores for initial fixations and the time span of attention were assessed. Results: Results indicated initial vigilance towards angry faces for all children independent of anxiety induction, while hypervigilance (but not avoidance) was only established in children with social phobia for angry neutral face pairs and with social fears induced. Self-report measures of anxiety correlated with bias towards threat with more pronounced associations occurring in the anxiety induction condition. Limitations: We did not record reaction times simultaneously which limits the opportunity to compare our results to some previous studies which focused on this variable as an indicator of attention. Conclusions: Cognitive biases in elementary school children (between 8 and 12 years) relate to hypervigilant rather than to avoidant information processing. Attentional distribution varies over time. Differences between clinical anxious and healthy children seem to be modified by anxiety induction, symptom severity and contextual stimuli, such as the emotional valence of a face and the context in which the threat stimulus appears. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Seefeldt WL, Kraemer M, Tuschen-Caffier B, Heinrichs N. Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry. 2014;45(1):105-112.
Seefeldt, W. L., Kraemer, M., Tuschen-Caffier, B., & Heinrichs, N. (2014). Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry, 45(1), 105-112.
Seefeldt, W. L., Kraemer, M., Tuschen-Caffier, B., and Heinrichs, N. (2014). Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry 45, 105-112.
Seefeldt, W.L., et al., 2014. Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry, 45(1), p 105-112.
W.L. Seefeldt, et al., “Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia”, Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry, vol. 45, 2014, pp. 105-112.
Seefeldt, W.L., Kraemer, M., Tuschen-Caffier, B., Heinrichs, N.: Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry. 45, 105-112 (2014).
Seefeldt, Wiebke L., Kraemer, Martina, Tuschen-Caffier, Brunna, and Heinrichs, Nina. “Hypervigilance and avoidance in visual attention in children with social phobia”. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry 45.1 (2014): 105-112.
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Stimulus-Driven Attention, Threat Bias, and Sad Bias in Youth with a History of an Anxiety Disorder or Depression.
Sylvester CM, Hudziak JJ, Gaffrey MS, Barch DM, Luby JL., J Abnorm Child Psychol 44(2), 2016
PMID: 25702927
Anxiety and Attentional Bias in Preschool-Aged Children: An Eyetracking Study.
Dodd HF, Hudson JL, Williams T, Morris T, Lazarus RS, Byrow Y., J Abnorm Child Psychol 43(6), 2015
PMID: 25434325

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