Attention bias toward threat in pediatric anxiety disorders.

Published

Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: To examine attention bias toward threat faces in a large sample of anxiety-disordered youths using a well-established visual probe task. METHOD: Study participants included 101 children and adolescents (ages 7-18 years) with generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and/or separation anxiety disorder enrolled in a multisite anxiety treatment study. Nonanxious youths (n = 51; ages 9-18 years) were recruited separately. Participants were administered a computerized visual probe task that presents pairs of faces portraying threat (angry), positive (happy), and neutral expressions. They pressed a response key to indicate the spatial location of a probe that replaced one of the faces on each trial. Attention bias scores were calculated from response times to probes for each emotional face type. RESULTS: Compared to healthy youths, anxious participants demonstrated a greater attention bias toward threat faces. This threat bias in anxious patients did not significantly vary across the anxiety disorders. There was no group difference in attention bias toward happy faces. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that pediatric anxiety disorders are associated with an attention bias toward threat. Future research may examine the manner in which cognitive bias in anxious youths changes with treatment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Roy, AK; Vasa, RA; Bruck, M; Mogg, K; Bradley, BP; Sweeney, M; Bergman, RL; McClure-Tone, EB; Pine, DS; CAMS Team,

Published Date

  • October 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1189 - 1196

PubMed ID

  • 18698266

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18698266

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-5418

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/CHI.0b013e3181825ace

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States