Evidence for retarded extinction of aversive learning in anxious children

Lisa C. Liberman, Ottmar V. Lipp*, Susan H. Spence, Sonja March

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The habituation to intense acoustic stimuli and the acquisition of differentially conditioned fear were assessed in 53 clinically anxious and 30 non-anxious control children and young adolescents. Anxious children tended to show larger electrodermal responses during habituation, but did not differ in blink startle latency or magnitude. After acquisition training, non-anxious children rated the CS+ as more fear provoking and arousing than the CS- whereas the ratings of anxious children did not differ. However, anxious children rated the CS+ as more fear provoking after extinction, a difference that was absent in non-anxious children. During extinction training, anxious children displayed larger blink magnitude facilitation during CS+ and a trend towards larger electrodermal responses, a tendency not seen in non-anxious children. These data suggest that extinction of fear learning is retarded in anxious children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1491-1502
    Number of pages12
    JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
    Volume44
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

    Keywords

    • Blink startle
    • Child anxiety
    • Electrodermal responses
    • Fear learning

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