Victoria University

“The Cuscus has White Teeth”: The Verbal Information Pathway to Fear in Non-clinically Anxious Children: No Influence of Ambiguous Information or Trait Anxiety

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dc.contributor.advisor Salmon, Karen Dalrymple-Alford, Stefan 2012-09-27T03:52:13Z 2012-09-27T03:52:13Z 2011 2011 2011
dc.description.abstract Twenty-nine non-clinically anxious children, aged 7-10 years old, completed the Fear Beliefs Questionnaire (FBQ; Field & Lawson, 2003) before and after the presentation of verbal ambiguous information about an unknown animal, while 32 similar children matched for trait anxiety did the same after hearing threat information. Behavioural avoidance of the animals was subsequently examined with an adaptation of the Nature Reserve Task (NRT; Field & Storksen-Coulson, 2007). Children also completed a Reduced Evidence of Danger interpretation bias task (Muris, Merckelbach & Damsma, 2000c) for ambiguous stories with generalised anxiety and social anxiety content, prior to the FBQ and NRT. Verbal threat information substantially increased FBQ ratings and NRT distance from the tagged animal, whereas ambiguous information had no effect on these measures other than a subset of children showing an avoidance of the tagged animal in the NRT. Contrary to expectations, level of trait anxiety was not related to interpretation biases, or the effect of ambiguous or threat information. In the threat group, but not the ambiguous group, two bias measures for generalised anxiety stories were associated with relative increase in FBQ ratings for the tagged animal, and a third bias measure for social anxiety stories was associated with NRT score. The associations held when controlling for gender, age, and trait anxiety, including trait anxiety used as a moderator variable. These findings support the view that verbal threat information is sufficient to induce fear of animals in children. Results are inconsistent with the current view that the effects of the verbal information pathway increase as a function of trait anxiety and that ambiguous verbal information can lead to increased fear responding. The evidence for bias – verbal threat associations suggests that future studies should examine their role in the verbal information pathway to fear and anxiety, and clarify the influence of various internalising and externalising psychopathologies beyond trait anxiety. en_NZ
dc.publisher Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Fear en_NZ
dc.subject Verbal information en_NZ
dc.subject Children en_NZ
dc.title “The Cuscus has White Teeth”: The Verbal Information Pathway to Fear in Non-clinically Anxious Children: No Influence of Ambiguous Information or Trait Anxiety en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of Psychology en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.marsden 380199 Psychology not Elsewhere Classified en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ Psychology en_NZ Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ Master's en_NZ Master of Science en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified en_NZ

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