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Gepubliceerd in: Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 4/2008

01-05-2008

Maternal Modeling and the Acquisition of Fear and Avoidance in Toddlers: Influence of Stimulus Preparedness and Child Temperament

Auteurs: Kathrin Dubi, Ronald M. Rapee, Jane L. Emerton, Carolyn A. Schniering

Gepubliceerd in: Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology | Uitgave 4/2008

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of maternal modeling on the acquisition of fear and avoidance towards fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant, novel stimuli in a sample of 71 toddlers. Children were shown a rubber snake or spider (fear-relevant objects) and a rubber mushroom or flower (fear-irrelevant objects), which were alternately paired with either negative or positive expression by their mothers. Both stimuli were presented again after a 1- and a 10-min delay, while mothers maintained a neutral expression. The toddlers showed increased fear and avoidance of the objects following negative reaction from their mothers than following positive maternal expression. This was similarly true for both fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant stimuli. In addition, no association was found between child temperament and behavioral responses and a weak association emerged between child temperament and emotional responses. The results demonstrate that young children can rapidly form conditioned emotional and behavioral responses via maternal reactions regardless of stimulus preparedness or child temperament. It is suggested that early maternal modeling may be relevant to a broad spectrum of fearful reactions.
Voetnoten
1
At this stage, the mothers were only instructed and given written suggestions on how to display appropriate emotions but these instructions and suggestions were not paired with any of the stimuli. Moreover, the names of the stimuli were not mentioned at any time, the mothers and the experimenter did not face the toddlers, and the stimuli were disguised in the box. Consequently, it is very unlikely that any incidental learning (via hearing or seeing) could have occurred.
 
2
The order and choice of the fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant objects were randomized and counterbalanced between participants. However, the researchers checked for any possible influence of order of modeling condition (positive or negative modeling first) and of type of stimulus (flower, mushroom, snake, or spider). Few interactions were significant and these were difficult to interpret. As there were no significant interactions with the variables of interest, order of modeling and type of stimulus were not considered any further.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Maternal Modeling and the Acquisition of Fear and Avoidance in Toddlers: Influence of Stimulus Preparedness and Child Temperament
Auteurs
Kathrin Dubi
Ronald M. Rapee
Jane L. Emerton
Carolyn A. Schniering
Publicatiedatum
01-05-2008
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology / Uitgave 4/2008
Print ISSN: 2730-7166
Elektronisch ISSN: 2730-7174
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-007-9195-3

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