Forced choice reaction time paradigm in children with separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, and nonanxious controls

Tina In-Albon, Kathrin Dubi, Ronald M. Rapee, Silvia Schneider*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Cognitive distortions refer to cognitive processes that are biased and therefore yield dysfunctional and maladaptive products (e.g., interpretation bias). Automatic aspects of information processing need to be considered and investigating these aspects requires forms of assessment other than self-report. Studies focussing on the specificity of cognitive biases across different types of anxiety disorders in childhood are rare. Thus, a forced choice reaction time paradigm with picture stimuli was used to assess the interpretation bias in anxious children online. The study investigated disorder-specific interpretation bias in 71 children with separation anxiety disorder (SAD), 31 children with social phobia, and 42 children without mental disorders, aged 5-13 years. Results indicated that children with SAD rated ambiguous separation pictures as significantly more unpleasant and more arousing than nonanxious children. However, no support was found that children with SAD and social phobia interpret ambiguous separation or social pictures in a more negative way than nonanxious children. Furthermore, no group differences were found in reaction times to all picture categories.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1058-1065
    Number of pages8
    JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
    Volume47
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

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