Threat perception abnormalities in children

The role of anxiety disorders symptoms, chronic anxiety, and state anxiety

Peter Muris*, Ron Rapee, Cor Meesters, Erik Schouten, Marijn Geers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    69 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)271-287
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
    Volume17
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Keywords

    • Anxiety
    • Normal children
    • Threat perception abnormalities

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