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14-11-2019 | Brief Report | Uitgave 2/2020

Cognitive Therapy and Research 2/2020

A Situational Context Training for Socially Anxious Children

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 2/2020
Daniela Schwab, Anne Schienle
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The processing of facial expressions is biased in social anxiety (SA). We tested whether a brief situational context training in the school setting might be helpful in changing biased facial processing and reducing relevant symptoms in children with SA. A final sample of 118 children aged 8 to 13 years with high vs. low SA were randomly assigned to a training group or a control group without intervention. During the training, the children were exposed to images depicting negative facial expressions with masked and later unmasked backgrounds, in order to demonstrate that negative expressions can also occur in emotion-irrelevant contexts (e.g., during onion cutting). Especially for socially anxious children, the intervention effectively reduced harmful expectations during the presentation of images showing negative facial expressions. Moreover, socially anxious children having undertaken the training were able to perform a subjectively more challenging social evaluation task in front of the class.

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