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13-09-2021 | Original Article

Attentional Bias to Threat: Examining Associations with Children’s Emotional Regulation and Interactions with Intimate Partner Violence

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Auteurs:
Laura Miller-Graff, Caroline Scheid
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Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) in the home—a prevalent environmental risk for children—exemplifies a key factor that may alter the role of attentional bias to threat (ABT) in children’s psychological adjustment. The current study aims to (1) examine potential variations in ABT and emotion regulation across animal and face stimuli and (2) test IPV as a potential moderator of the relationship between ABT and child outcomes. Participating children (N = 37) completed computerized tasks assessing ABT. Mothers provided data on IPV in the home, child victimization, and child emotion regulation. Children’s ABT toward animal stimuli was not associated with emotion regulation; IPV significantly moderated the link between ABT and emotion regulation (β = − 0.06, p < .001). At low levels of IPV, children’s ABT and emotion regulation were not related, but at high levels of IPV, ABT was negatively associated with emotion regulation skills. The relevance of ABT for understanding functioning may vary by both stimulus selection and by previous experiences of environmental risk.

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