A Situational Context Training for Socially Anxious Children
- 12 Downloads
The processing of facial expressions is biased in social anxiety (SA). We tested whether a brief situational context training in the school setting might be helpful in changing biased facial processing and reducing relevant symptoms in children with SA. A final sample of 118 children aged 8 to 13 years with high vs. low SA were randomly assigned to a training group or a control group without intervention. During the training, the children were exposed to images depicting negative facial expressions with masked and later unmasked backgrounds, in order to demonstrate that negative expressions can also occur in emotion-irrelevant contexts (e.g., during onion cutting). Especially for socially anxious children, the intervention effectively reduced harmful expectations during the presentation of images showing negative facial expressions. Moreover, socially anxious children having undertaken the training were able to perform a subjectively more challenging social evaluation task in front of the class.
KeywordsSocial anxiety Facial expression processing Cognitive bias Situational context information Social evaluation
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Daniela Schwab and Anne Schienle declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were approved by the ethics committee of the University of Graz and were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Animal Rights Statements
All institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (national and institutional). Informed consent was obtained from all individual subjects participating in the study.
- Beesdo, K., Bittner, A., Pine, D. S., Stein, M. B., Höfler, M., Lieb, R., et al. (2007). Incidence of Social Anxiety Disorder and the Consistent Risk for Secondary Depression in the First Three Decades of Life. Archives of General Psychiatry,64(8), 903. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.64.8.903.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Grant, B. F., Hasin, D. S., Blanco, C., Stinson, F. S., Chou, S. P., Goldstein, R. B., et al. (2005). The epidemiology of social anxiety disorder in the United States: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,66(11), 1351–1361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kessler, R. C., Angermeyer, M., Anthony, J. C., de Graaf, R., Demyttenaere, K., Gasquet, I., et al. (2007). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of mental disorders in the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Survey Initiative. World Psychiatry : Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA),6(3), 168–176.Google Scholar
- Klein, A. M., Rapee, R. M., Hudson, J. L., Schniering, C. A., Wuthrich, V. M., Kangas, M., et al. (2015). Interpretation modification training reduces social anxiety in clinically anxious children. Behaviour Research and Therapy,75, 78–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2015.10.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kujawa, A., MacNamara, A., Fitzgerald, K. D., Monk, C. S., & Phan, K. L. (2015). Enhanced Neural Reactivity to Threatening Faces in Anxious Youth: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,43(8), 1493–1501. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-015-0029-4.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- McGorry, P. D., Purcell, R., Goldstone, S., & Amminger, G. P. (2011). Age of onset and timing of treatment for mental and substance use disorders: implications for preventive intervention strategies and models of care. Current Opinion in Psychiatry,24(4), 301–306. https://doi.org/10.1097/YCO.0b013e3283477a09.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Melfsen, S. (1998). Die deutsche Fassung der Social Anxiety Scale for Children Revised (SASC-R-D): Psychometrische Eigenschaften und Normierung. Diagnostica,44(3), 153–163.Google Scholar
- Merikangas, K. R., He, J.-P., Burstein, M., Swanson, S. A., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., ... Swendsen, J. (2010). Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication–Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980–989. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.017
- Merikangas, K. R., He, J.-P., Burstein, M., Swendsen, J., Avenevoli, S., Case, B., ... Olfson, M. (2011). Service utilization for lifetime mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: Results of the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(1), 32–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2010.10.006
- Rossignol, M., Campanella, S., Maurage, P., Heeren, A., Falbo, L., & Philippot, P. (2012a). Enhanced perceptual responses during visual processing of facial stimuli in young socially anxious individuals. Neuroscience Letters,526(1), 68–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2012.07.045.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rossignol, M., Philippot, P., Bissot, C., Rigoulot, S., & Campanella, S. (2012b). Electrophysiological correlates of enhanced perceptual processes and attentional capture by emotional faces in social anxiety. Brain Research,1460, 50–62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2012.04.034.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ruscio, A. M., Brown, T. A., Chiu, W. T., Sareen, J., Stein, M. B., & Kessler, R. C. (2008). Social fears and social phobia in the USA: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Psychological Medicine,38(1), 15–28. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291707001699.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Stirling, L. J., Eley, T. C., & Clark, D. M. (2006). Preliminary evidence for an association between social anxiety symptoms and avoidance of negative faces in school-age children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology,35(3), 431–439. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp3503_9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Vassilopoulos, S. P., Banerjee, R., & Prantzalou, C. (2009). Experimental modification of interpretation bias in socially anxious children: Changes in interpretation, anticipated interpersonal anxiety, and social anxiety symptoms. Behaviour Research and Therapy,47(12), 1085–1089. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2009.07.018.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar