The verbal threat information pathway to fear in children: the longitudinal effects on fear cognitions and the immediate effects on avoidance behavior

Field, Andy, Lawson, Joanne and Banerjee, Robin (2008) The verbal threat information pathway to fear in children: the longitudinal effects on fear cognitions and the immediate effects on avoidance behavior. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117 (1). pp. 214-224. ISSN 0021-843X

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Abstract

Verbal information has long been assumed to be an indirect pathway to fear. Children (aged 6-8 or 12-13 years) were exposed to threat, positive, or no information about 3 novel animals to see the long-term impact on their fear cognitions and the immediate impact on avoidance behavior. Their directly (self-report) and indirectly (implicit association task) measured attitudes toward the animals changed congruent with the information provided, and the changes persisted up to 6 months later. Verbal threat information also induced behavioral avoidance of the animal. Younger children formed stronger animal-threat and animal-safe associations because of threat and positive verbal information than older children, but there were negligible age effects on self-reported fear beliefs and avoidance behaviors. These results support theories of fear acquisition that suppose that verbal information affects components of the fear emotion.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Andy Field
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:42
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2013 15:41
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14000
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