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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies 7/2021

19-05-2021 | Original Paper

Evaluating the Role of a Socially Assistive Robot in Children’s Mental Health Care

Auteurs: Elizabeth R. Kitt, Molly K. Crossman, Angela Matijczak, Gillian B. Burns, Alan E. Kazdin

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies | Uitgave 7/2021

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Abstract

Socially assistive robots (SARs) present a promising intervention for addressing the increasing prevalence of childhood stress. This innovative technology has become increasingly common in practical implementation. However, empirical support has not kept pace with the robots’ growing popularity. The present study set out to provide an empirical test of the stress-buffering capability of this technology. We examined the effects of the presence of an SAR on self-reported measures of stress in a community sample of 70 children (40 girls, 30 boys) between the ages of 7 and 10 years old. Child participants were randomly assigned to either a robot-present or a robot-absent condition during the Trier Social Stress Test for Children. Contrary to our predictions, we did not detect a stress-buffering effect of the presence of the robot. Instead, the primary analysis showed that the robot’s presence led to a larger decrease in positive affect following the task. However, further analyses found no significant difference in positive affect when accounting for baseline group differences. Exploratory analyses of the nature of children’s interactions with the SAR during the stressful task found that higher levels of parent-reported social anxiety were associated with greater prosocial behaviors towards the SAR, thus signifying a potential target for future interventions. Further work on SARs is needed to determine the optimal timing and robotic specifications that would maximize the potential of this developing technology to improve children’s mental health care.

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Metagegevens
Titel
Evaluating the Role of a Socially Assistive Robot in Children’s Mental Health Care
Auteurs
Elizabeth R. Kitt
Molly K. Crossman
Angela Matijczak
Gillian B. Burns
Alan E. Kazdin
Publicatiedatum
19-05-2021
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Child and Family Studies / Uitgave 7/2021
Print ISSN: 1062-1024
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-2843
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-01977-5