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11-05-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2018 Open Access

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 6/2018

Executive Attention and Empathy-Related Responses in Boys with Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder, With and Without Comorbid Anxiety Disorder

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 6/2018
Auteurs:
Jarla Pijper, Minet de Wied, Sophie van Rijn, Stephanie van Goozen, Hanna Swaab, Wim Meeus

Abstract

This is a first study that investigated the relationships between executive attention—as an important aspect of emotion regulation—and state empathy and sympathy in ODD/CD boys with (N = 31) and without (N = 18) comorbid anxiety disorder (7–12 years). Empathic reactions were evoked using three sadness-inducing film clips. One clip was highly evocative involving a bear cub losing his mother, whilst two other clips were mildly evocative involving children in common childhood situations. Self-reports of empathy and sympathy were collected and executive attention was assessed with a performance task. Poor executive attention skills were associated with less empathy and sympathy, particularly in ODD/CD boys with anxiety and under conditions of a highly evocative stimulus. Our findings support the view that different mechanisms may be involved in empathy problems of ODD/CD children.

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