Effects of state and trait anxiety on selective attention to threatening stimuli in a non-clinical sample of school children
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Keywords

attentional bias
dot-probe
trait anxiety
state anxiety
non-clinical sample
schoolchildren

How to Cite

Ortega Marín, J., Jiménez Solanilla, K., & Acosta Barreto, R. (2015). Effects of state and trait anxiety on selective attention to threatening stimuli in a non-clinical sample of school children. International Journal of Psychological Research, 8(1), 75–90. https://doi.org/10.21500/20112084.646

Abstract

Attentional biases, consisting of a preferential processing of threatening stimuli, have been found in anxious adults as predicted by several cognitive models. However, studies with non-clinical samples of children have provided mixed results. Therefore, the aim of this research was to determine the effects of state and trait anxiety on the selective attention towards threatening stimuli in a non-clinical sample of school children (age: 8 to 13, n = 110) using the dot-probe task. This study did not reveal an effect of trait anxiety on selective attention towards threatening stimuli. However, a significant difference was found between participants with low state anxiety and high state anxiety. Nevertheless, the effect size was small. Specifically, participants with low state anxiety showed a bias towards threatening stimuli. Overall, the findings of this research with a non-clinical sample of school children suggest that attentional biases towards threatening information, which has been repeatedly found in anxious adults, are not necessarily inherent to non-clinical anxiety in children and on the other hand, the relationship between attentional biases and anxiety in this population might be moderated by other cognitive processes.
https://doi.org/10.21500/20112084.646
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