|Reference : Impact of an anxious social situation on emotional facial expressions (EFE) recognition ...|
|Scientific congresses and symposiums : Poster|
|Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Treatment & clinical psychology|
|Impact of an anxious social situation on emotional facial expressions (EFE) recognition in children|
|Dethier, Marie [Université de Liège - ULg > Département des sciences cognitives > Psychologie clinique cognitive et comportementale >]|
|Taskin, Asliane [ > > ]|
|Blairy, Sylvie [Université de Liège - ULg > Département des sciences cognitives > Psychologie clinique cognitive et comportementale >]|
|World Congress of Behavorial and Cognitive Therapies|
|[en] social anxiety ; children ; emotional facial expression|
|[en] Socially anxious children have difficulties to interact adequately with others. The core characteristic of social anxiety, the fear of being negatively evaluated by others, may among others, be based on problems with the decoding of other persons’ emotional facial expression (EFE). Up to now, the research on EFE recognition in socially anxious children has produced mixed results. Whereas some studies reported differences between anxious and healthy children in EFE recognition (e.g., Simonian, Beidel, Turner, Berkes, & Long, 2001), others didn’t find such differences (Melfsen & Florin, 2002). In this study, we addressed two new issues in the investigation of EFE recognition in socially anxious children. Firstly, we investigated self-esteem. Socially anxious children show low confidence in one’s cognitive and social abilities. Furthermore, high self-esteem is related to high capacities of EFE recognition (Garfield, Rogoff, & Steinberg, 1987), and more generally to high level of social functioning (Serretti et al., 1999 ; Shapira et al., 1999). Indeed, the perception of ourselves depends on the way we think others people perceive us. Secondly, past researches have investigated this issue in low anxious situations and thus, not in situations in which social anxious individuals feel threatened. The originality of the present study is that it addresses the relationship between EFE recognition performance and self-esteem in children placed in an anxious social situation. We predicted a low capacity to decode EFE in socially anxious children. Moreover, we hypothesised a relationship between a low self-esteem and difficulties to decode accurately EFE in an anxious social situation.
Seventy children (8 – 12 years) were placed in an anxious social situation of performance in which they were instructed to count aloud backwards, beginning at 200 in increments of 13. Children assessed their emotional feeling state, including their degree of anxiety, before and after the anxious social situation. Furthermore, children were assessed on an EFE decoding test consisting of 16 photographs depicting EFE of happiness, anger, disgust, and sadness. For each photograph, they evaluated the presence of nine types of emotions on a 7-point Likert scale. They also completed the Self-Perception Profile for Children (Harter, 1985).
No correlations emerged between the accuracy of EFE recognition and an increase of anxious feelings after the anxious social situation. However, self-esteem was correlated with performance on the EFE recognition test, r (70) = -.33, p < .01. Moreover, the lower the child’s level of self-esteem was, the more he/she perceived negative emotions (fear, anger, disgust, and shame) in EFE of anger.
In conclusion, social anxiety doesn’t seem to interfere with EFE recognition performance in an anxious social situation. However, low level of self-esteem in children appears to be associated with deficits and interpretative bias in EFE recognition in an anxious social situation. The recognition of the expression of anger, an emotion socially threatening, seems particularly biased in children with low level of self-esteem.
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