Attention and Interpretation Biases and Attention Control in Youth with Social Anxiety Disorder

Lee Pergamin-Hight*, Shani Bitton, Daniel S. Pine, Nathan A. Fox, Yair Bar-Haim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is associated with threat-related attention and interpretation biases. Recent research suggests that attention control abilities moderate these associations. The current study examines threat-related attentional engagement and disengagement biases, negative interpretation bias, and attention control among youth with SAD (n=71) and non-anxious youth (n=42). We further explore interactions between cognitive biases, and between these biases and attention control, in predicting SAD. Relative to non-anxious youth, youth with SAD had poorer attention control, p=.001, greater difficulty disengaging from angry faces, p=.05, and a negative biased interpretation of ambiguous social scenarios, p =.01. However, no interactions were found among these factors in relation to SAD diagnosis or symptoms. The present results add to research on cognitive biases in anxious children, emphasizing a distinct contribution of each of these cognitive mechanisms, rather than their interactional influences. Findings are discussed in relation to cognitive developmental models of anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-498
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychopathology
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • attention bias
  • attention control
  • interpretation bias
  • pediatric anxiety
  • social anxiety

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