Goldsmiths - University of London

The influence of children's self-report trait anxiety and depression on visual search for emotional faces

Hadwin, Julie A.; Donnelly, Nick; French, Christopher C.; Richards, Anne; Watts, Antonia and Daley, Dave. 2003. The influence of children's self-report trait anxiety and depression on visual search for emotional faces. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(3), pp. 432-444. ISSN 0021-9630 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Background: This study presents two experiments that investigated the relationship between7- and 10-year-olds’ levels of self-report trait anxiety and depression and their visual search for threatening (angry faces) and non-threatening (happy and neutral faces) stimuli.

Method: In both experiments a visual search paradigm was used to measure participants’ reaction times to detect the presence or absence of angry, happy or neutral schematic faces (Experiment 1) or cartoon drawings (Experiment 2). On target present trials, a target face was displayed alongside three, five or seven distractor items. On target absent trials all items were distractors.

Results: Both experiments demonstrated that on target absent (but not present) trials, increased levels of anxiety produced significantly faster search times in the angry face condition, but not in the neutral condition. In Experiment 2 there was some trend towards significance between anxiety and searches for happy faces in absent trials. There were no effects of depression on search times in any condition.

Conclusion: The results support previous work highlighting a specific link between anxiety and attention to threat in childhood.

Item Type: Article

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Date Deposited:

07 Mar 2011 15:52

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2017 10:22

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/5134
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