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NCJ Number: 222038 Find in a Library
Title: Recognition of Facial Emotions Among Maltreated Children with High Rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect  Volume:32  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:139-153
Author(s): Carrie L. Masten; Amanda E. Guyer; Hilary B. Hodgdon; Erin B. McClure; Dennis S. Charney; Monique Ernst; Joan Kaufman; Daniel S. Pine; Christopher S. Monk
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: K22 MH068017;1R01MH65519-01
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the processing of facial emotions in a sample of maltreated children showing high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Abstract: Findings indicate experience with maltreatment leads to heightened sensitivity to fearful faces. Treatments may be developed for maltreated children that focus on more normative interpretation of social stimuli, so that ambiguous social encounters are not rapidly identified as threatening. The results suggest that treatments designed to normalize atypical processing of emotion might benefit all maltreated children, not those with psychological symptoms. Atypical processing of emotion and psychopathology symptoms may be two independent outcomes of childhood maltreatment. The study chose fear as the negative emotion of interest, rather than a different threatening emotional state, such as anger. Previous research has demonstrated that fearful and angry faces reflect equal levels of negative emotion and arousal as well as intensity. According to subjective ratings for both types of faces, both fear and anger are likely to be distressing emotional stimuli. Second, although anger might indicate imminent threat for maltreated children, fear also suggests the presence of a threat in the immediate environment. Third, the long-term aim of this research was to understand the neural dysfunction that relates to maltreatment and maltreatment-related psychopathology. This resulted in a task compatible with functional neuroimaging that was designed to measure responses to facial emotions in predicted neural structures. Participants included 46 children (29 maltreated and 17 controls) ranging in age from 8 to 15 years, from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The maltreated children were from Connecticut's Department of Children and Families. Tables, figures, references
Main Term(s): Abused children; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD)
Index Term(s): Abused-nonabused child comparisons; Child protection services; Connecticut; Emotional disorders
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