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Anxiety and cognition in children and adolescents

Burrows, Linda J 1998 , 'Anxiety and cognition in children and adolescents', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The link between distorted thinking and anxiety in children and adolescents has
long been established; however, there have been few studies which address
gender differences or the effect of age on anxiety and cognition. The major aims
of the thesis are to investigate age (via grade) and gender differences in the
anxiety-induced cognitive output of children and adolescents, and to assess the
effect of positive statements, coping statements and threat statements on state
anxiety. To this end, a number of hypotheses are explored involving children
from different grade levels in a series of four experiments. First it is
hypothesised that there will be increases in the number of anxiety-induced
cognitions as grade increases. Second, females will report significantly more
coping and threat statements and significantly less positive statements. Third,
that trait anxiety will be significantly positively correlated with coping and threat
statements, and in addition, the relationship between positive cognitions and
anxiety will be explored. Fourth it is hypothesised that those presented with
positive statements will report significantly less state anxiety than those
presented with coping or threat statements.
It has been demonstrated that there are developmental changes in the
presentation and intensity of children's fears, and previous research in the area
has not controlled for these differences in selecting stimuli items to induce
anxiety. Experiment 1 selected three fear items to be used to induce anxiety in
later experiments which control for age differences. The Fear Survey Schedule
for Children-II (FSSC-II; Gullone & King, 1992a) and the State Trait Anxiety
Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, 1983) or the State Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children
(STAIC; Spielberger 1973) were administered to 311 children from
grades 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10. The selected items did not display significant effects of
grade, were significantly positively correlated with trait anxiety and they were
reported with notable levels of fear. It was not possible to select items that did
not show gender differences because the majority of items were feared
significantly more by females. The final selected items were 'having no friends',
'having an operation' and 'sharks'.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Burrows, Linda J
Keywords: Cognition in adolescence, Anxiety in children, Anxiety in adolescence, Cognition in children
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 123-147)

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