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NCJ Number: 204735 Find in a Library
Title: Children's Discrimination of Expressions of Emotions: Relationship With Indices of Social Anxiety and Shyness
Journal: Child & Adolescent Psychiatry  Volume:43  Issue:3  Dated:March 2004  Pages:358-365
Author(s): Marco Battaglia M.D.; Ana Ogliari M.D.; Annalisa Zanoni M.Sc.; Federica Villa M.Sc.; Alessandra Citterio M.Sc.; Flora Binaghi M.Sc.; Andrea Fossati M.D.; Cesare Maffei M.D.
Date Published: March 2004
Page Count: 8
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This exploratory investigation examined possible relationships between individual levels of social anxiety in school children and their ability to classify emotional expressions observed in pictures of children of similar age.
Abstract: The study group was drawn from a sample of children from all the second-grade and third-grade classes of an elementary school in the Province of Milan, Italy. A total of 149 children received permission from their parents to participate in the study. The study used a series of black-and-white pictures of the facial expressions of a boy and a girl who were the same age as the children in the study. The expressions represented in the pictures encompassed the emotions of joy, fear, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, and a neutral expression. Before being exposed to the pictures, each child was asked about the meaning of the words "happy," "angry," "disgusted," "fearful," "surprised," "sad," and "neutral." They were asked to provide at least one synonym for each term. Every child was exposed to the same succession of alternating male and female pictures in a specific order to avoid close repetitions of the same expression. Children were characterized by the number of spontaneous comments they made during a pause in the trial as well as their scores on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, the Stevenson-Hinde and Glover Shyness-to-the-Unfamiliar Scale, and the Cloninger Harm Avoidance scale. The scales were administered by appropriately trained teachers. The overall rate of the children's correct identification of the emotions portrayed in the pictures was 72 percent, without any significant gender differences in the identifications. Regression analyses showed that higher rates of mistaken identifications were significantly associated with higher scores on the Liebowitz scale and fewer spontaneous comments. Misidentifications of the "anger" expressions (most often mistaken for "disgust") were associated with higher ratings on the Liebowitz scale when children were exposed to a boy's picture and by fewer spontaneous comments when children were exposed to a girl's picture. Misidentification of a neutral expression in a girl's picture (most often misidentified as "sadness") was significantly associated with fewer spontaneous comments. These preliminary findings suggest that a child's ability to identify other children's basic emotions is partially associated with his/her level of observed social shyness. The ability to recognize facial expressions of emotions correctly could become part of the clinical assessment of children with social anxiety disorder; this information could then be used in the context of psychotherapy and/or outcome evaluation. 4 tables and 40 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Emotional disorders; Foreign criminal justice research; Italy; Socially challenged; Youth development
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