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Attentional biases with regard to emotional facial expressions are associated with social anxiety in adults. We investigated whether similar relations exist in children. Seventy-nine 8- to 11-year-olds completed a probe detection task. On a given trial, 1 of 3 pairs of faces was presented: negative-neutral, negative-positive, and positive-neutral. The strongest association was between social anxiety symptoms and avoidance of negative faces from negative-neutral trials (r = - .32), with all other correlations less than half that size. This association was largely due to avoidance of angry and fearful expressions. These results provide preliminary evidence that anxiety is associated with attentional biases in children as in adults.

Original publication

DOI

10.1207/s15374424jccp3503_9

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol

Publication Date

09/2006

Volume

35

Pages

431 - 439

Keywords

Anger, Anxiety Disorders, Attention, Avoidance Learning, Child, Child Behavior, Facial Expression, Fear, Female, Humans, London, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Set (Psychology), Social Behavior, Task Performance and Analysis, Time Factors