Visual attention to emotional faces in adolescents with social anxiety disorder receiving cognitive behavioral therapy

Autoři: Jens Högström aff001;  Martina Nordh aff001;  Miriam Larson Lindal aff002;  Ebba Taylor aff002;  Eva Serlachius aff001;  Johan Lundin Kleberg aff001
Působiště autorů: Centre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, & Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County Council, CAP Research Center, Gävlegatan, Stockholm, Sweden aff001;  Division of Psychology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden aff002;  Uppsala Child and Baby Lab, Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225603


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a psychiatric condition that often onsets in childhood. Cognitive models underline the role of attention in the maintenance of SAD, but studies on youth populations are few, particularly those using eye tracking to measure attention. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for SAD includes interventions targeting attention, like exposure to eye contact, but the link between CBT and attention bias is largely unexplored. This study investigated attention bias in youth with SAD and the association with outcome from CBT. Latency to attend to pictures of faces with different emotions (vigilance) and latency to disengage from social stimuli (avoidance) was examined in N = 25 adolescents (aged 13–17) with SAD in relation to treatment outcome. Vigilance was operationalized as the time it took to relocate the gaze from a central position to a peripherally appearing social stimulus. The latency to disengage from a centrally located social stimulus, when a non-social stimulus appeared in the periphery, was used as a proxy for avoidance. Attention characteristics in the SAD group were compared to non-anxious (NA) controls (N = 22). Visual attention was measured using eye tracking. Participants in both the SAD and NA groups were vigilant towards angry faces, compared to neutral and happy faces. Similarly, both groups disengaged attention faster from angry faces. Adolescents with SAD who disengaged faster from social stimuli had less social anxiety after CBT. The results indicate that anxious youth display a vigilant-avoidant attention pattern to threat. However, partly inconsistent with previous research, the same pattern was observed in the NA group.

Klíčová slova:

Adolescents – Attention – Emotions – Children – Social anxiety disorder – Social systems – Vigilance – Vigilance (psychology)


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