Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 215–223 | Cite as

Biases in Visual Attention in Children and Adolescents With Clinical Anxiety and Mixed Anxiety-Depression

  • Mohammad R. Taghavi
  • Hamid T. Neshat-Doost
  • Ali R. Moradi
  • William Yule
  • Tim Dalgleish


Recent research has indicated that anxious adult and child patients and high trait-anxious adults selectively shift attention toward threatening stimuli. The present study extends this research and investigates the content-specificity of the effects in clinically anxious and mixed anxious–depressed children and adolescents. Twenty four generally anxious patients, aged 9 to 18, 19 mixed anxious–depressed patients, and 24 normal controls were comparable with respect to age, sex, verbal IQ, and vocabulary level. The participants carried out an attentional deployment task in which probe detection latency data were used to determine the distribution of visual attention for threat-related and depression-related material. The results showed that clinically anxious children, relative to controls, selectively allocated processing resources toward threat stimuli. However, mixed anxious–depressed children, relative to controls, did not show any attentional bias towards either threat- or depression-related stimuli. Preliminary data on age and gender differences are also presented. The results of this study are discussed in the light of previous research.

Visual attention childhood anxiety information processing 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad R. Taghavi
    • 1
  • Hamid T. Neshat-Doost
    • 2
  • Ali R. Moradi
    • 3
  • William Yule
    • 4
  • Tim Dalgleish
    • 5
  1. 1.Shiraz UniversityIran
  2. 2.Esfahan UniversityIran
  3. 3.Teacher-Training UniversityIran
  4. 4.Institute of PsychiatryUSA
  5. 5.Cognition and Brain Sciences UnitMedical Research CouncilUK

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