ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 3, 423-436, 2016
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Controlling the bias: Inhibitory attentional control moderates the association between social anxiety and selective attentional responding to negative social information in children and adolescents

  Ben Grafton - University of Western Australia
  Laura Visu-Petra - Babes-Bolyai University
  Oana Marcus - Babes-Bolyai University
  Heather Liebregts - University of Western Australia
  Colin MacLeod - University of Western Australia

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2016, Pages 423-436


Previous findings suggest that some children and adolescents characterised by elevated social anxiety vulnerability attempt to regulate its debilitating consequences through attentional avoidance of negative social information. To date, however, the dimension of cognitive variability that enables the effective execution of this emotionally beneficial attentional strategy remains unknown. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that the capacity to effectively attentionally avoid negative social information will be more evident in children and adolescents who exhibit higher levels of inhibitory attentional control, relative to those who display lower levels of inhibitory attentional control. In keeping with this hypothesis, our present findings show that the association between social anxiety vulnerability and attentional avoidance of negative social information was indeed more evident in socially anxious children and adolescents with higher levels of inhibitory attentional control. We discuss ways in which future investigators could build upon the present findings to further shed light on the cognitive factors that contribute to vulnerability and resistance to developing social anxiety.

Table of Contents
 Questionnaire Measure of Social Anxiety Symptoms
 Facial Image Stimuli
 Attentional Assessment Procedure
  Trial Structure Common to Both Subtasks.
  Trial Structure Unique to Attentional Bias Assessment Subtask.
  Trial Structure Unique to Inhibitory Attentional Control Assessment Subtask.

Correspondence to
Ben Grafton, Centre for the Advancement of Research in Emotion, School of Psychology, M304, The University of Western Australia, M304, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia.

attentional bias, attentional control, social anxiety, children and adolescents

Received 13 Feb 2016; Revised 15 Jun 2016; Accepted 15 Jun 2016; In Press 26 Jun 2016

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