Mechanisms of anxiety related attentional biases in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

May, Tamara, Cornish, Kim and Rinehart, Nicole J. 2015, Mechanisms of anxiety related attentional biases in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Journal of autism and developmental disorders, vol. 45, no. 10, pp. 3339-3350, doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2500-z.

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Title Mechanisms of anxiety related attentional biases in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Author(s) May, TamaraORCID iD for May, Tamara
Cornish, Kim
Rinehart, Nicole J.ORCID iD for Rinehart, Nicole J.
Journal name Journal of autism and developmental disorders
Volume number 45
Issue number 10
Start page 3339
End page 3350
Total pages 12
Publisher Springer
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2015-10
ISSN 0162-3257
Keyword(s) Anxiety
Attention bias
Austism spectrum disorder
Dot probe
Threat bias
Summary Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have high levels of anxiety. It is unclear whether they exhibit threat-related attentional biases commensurate with anxiety disorders as manifest in non-ASD populations, such as facilitated attention toward, and difficulties disengaging engaging from, threatening stimuli. Ninety children, 45 cognitively able with ASD and 45 age, perceptual-IQ, and gender matched typically developing children, aged 7–12 years, were administered a visual dot probe task using threatening facial pictures. Parent-reported anxiety symptoms were also collected. Children with ASD showed similarly high levels of anxiety compared with normative data from an anxiety disordered sample. Children with ASD had higher levels of parent-reported anxiety but did not show differences in disengaging from, or facilitated attention toward, threatening facial stimuli compared with typically developing children. In contrast to previously published studies of anxious children, in this study there were no differences in attentional biases in children with ASD meeting clinical cutoff for anxiety and those who did not. There were no correlations between attentional biases and anxiety symptoms and no gender differences. These findings indicate the cognitive mechanisms underlying anxiety in cognitively able children with ASD could differ from those commonly found in anxious children which may have implications for both understanding the aetiology of anxiety in ASD and for anxiety interventions
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10803-015-2500-z
Field of Research 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Springer
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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