This study investigated the relative contribution of general (trait) anxiety and state anxiety to threat perception abnormalities in nonreferred children aged 8-13 years (N=299). Children were first asked to complete self-report measures of anxiety disorders symptoms and chronic anxiety. Next, they were individually interviewed using an ambiguous story paradigm from which a number of threat perception indexes were derived. Just before the interview started, children were asked to fill out a measure of state anxiety. Results showed that high levels of general anxiety (as indexed by anxiety disorders symptoms and chronic anxiety) were significantly related to increased threat perception and lower threat thresholds. High levels of state anxiety were also associated with increased threat perception and lower threat thresholds. Regression analyses indicated that general anxiety and state anxiety both accounted for a unique proportion of the variance in threat perception abnormalities, although the contribution of general anxiety was in most cases substantially larger than that of state anxiety. Finally, no support was found for the notion that threat perception abnormalities are the result of the conjoint influence of general anxiety and state anxiety.
- Normal children
- Threat perception abnormalities