They are afraid of the animal, so therefore I am too: Influence of peer modeling on fear beliefs and approach–avoidance behaviors towards animals in typically developing children

Broeren, Suzanne, Lester, Kathryn J, Muris, Peter and Field, Andy P (2011) They are afraid of the animal, so therefore I am too: Influence of peer modeling on fear beliefs and approach–avoidance behaviors towards animals in typically developing children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49 (1). pp. 50-57. ISSN 1873-622X

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Abstract

This study investigated the effect of filmed peer modeling on fear beliefs and approach–avoidance behaviors towards animals in 8- to 10-year-old typically developing children. Ninety-seven children randomly received either a positive or negative modeling film in which they saw peers interact with a novel animal. Before and after this film, children’s fear beliefs and avoidance tendencies towards the modeled and non-modeled control animal were measured. A behavioral approach task was also administered post-modeling. Following positive peer modeling, children’s fear beliefs and avoidance tendencies towards the modeled but also towards the non-modeled animal decreased significantly. After negative modeling, children’s fear beliefs towards the modeled animal increased significantly, but did not change for the non-modeled animal. Negative modeling did not change avoidance tendencies for the modeled animal, while it decreased children’s avoidance of the non-modeled animal. No significant effects were observed on the behavioral approach task. These results support Rachman’s indirect pathway of modeling/vicarious learning as a plausible mechanism by which children can acquire fears of novel stimuli and stresses the important fear-reducing effects of positive peer modeling. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0180 Experimental psychology
Depositing User: Andy Field
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 12:37
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2017 22:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/41430

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