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Table 1 Studies of biased attention to threat in anxious youth with studies presenting conflicting results to adult data italicised

From: Investigating the genetic and environmental bases of biases in threat recognition and avoidance in children with anxiety problems

Authors Sample size and age information Anxiety measure Nature of anxiety effect reported
Visual Probe Task
Waters et al., [23] Anxious group = 23 (9–12 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater attention towards threat and pleasant pictures
Healthy group = 23 (9–12 yrs)
Waters et al., [24] Anxious group = 29 (9–12 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater attention towards threat faces but only those with more severe anxiety p 2=0.17)
Healthy group = 24 (9–12 yrs)
Waters et al., [25] Anxious group = 19 (9.8 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater attention towards threat pictures p 2= .13)
Healthy group = 19 (10.1 yrs)
Pine et al., [[21]] PTSD group = 29 (10.3 yrs) Clinical diagnosis PTSD group showed greater avoidance of angry faces (cohen’s d = 0.58)
Healthy group = 17 (9.9 yrs)
Roy et al. [26] Anxious group = 101 (11.5 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater attention towards threat faces (cohen’s d = 0.53)
Healthy group = 51 (13.6 yrs)
Vasey et al., [27] Anxious group = 12 (11.9 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater attention towards threat words but only appearing in lower probed positions (cohen’s d = 0.35)
Healthy group = 12 (11.8 yrs)
Dalgleish et al. [28] PTSD group = 24 (12.8 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater attention towards social threat and depression related words (cohen’s d = 0.56 and 0.60)
Healthy group = 24 (12.8 yrs)
Dalgleish et al. [28] PTSD group = 24, (12.8 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious groups showed greater attention towards threat words (cohen’s d = 0.24 and 0.59)
GAD group = 24 (13.6 yrs)
Healthy group = 26 (15.2 yrs)
Monk et al., [[22]] GAD group = 18 (13.5 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater avoidance of angry faces (cohen’s d = 0.64
Healthy group = 15 (12.3 yrs)
Dalgleish et al., [29] GAD group = 24 (13.6 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group showed greater attention towards threat words (cohen’s d = 0.72)
Healthy group = 24 (13.2 yrs)
Monk et al.,[[30]] GAD group = 17 (14.3 yrs) Clinical diagnosis No group differences in attention towards negative faces
Healthy group = 12 (13.1 yrs)
Keogh et al., [31] High Anxious group = 23 (8–10 yrs) Physical Anxiety High anxious group showed greater attention towards emotional (threat + positive) words (η p 2 = .099)
Low Anxious group = 16 (8–10 yrs) Sensitivity
Heim-Dreger et al., [32] Whole sample = 112 (9.0 yrs) Trait Anxiety Trait anxiety correlated with greater attention towards threat faces
Stirling et al., [[33]] Whole sample = 79 (9.67 yrs) Anxiety Symptoms Trait anxiety correlated with greater attention away from threat faces
Vasey et al., [34] High Anxious group = 20 (11–14 yrs) Test Anxiety High anxious group showed greater attention towards threat words
Low Anxious group = 20 (11–14 yrs)
Helzer et al., [35] Whole sample = 121 (11.4 yrs) Anxiety Symptoms Anxious symptoms correlated with attention towards social threat words but only in those with high fearful temperament
Lonigan et al., [36] High NA high EC group = 26 (14.7 yrs) Negative Affectivity (NA) and Effortful Control (EC) High NA group showed greater attention towards threat words but only in those with low EC
High NA low EC group = 25 (14.2 yrs)
Low NA high EC group = 27 (14.8 yrs)
Low NA low EC group = 26 (13.8 yrs)
Telzer et al., [37] Whole sample = 16 (15.3 yrs) Trait Anxiety Trait anxiety predicted greater attention towards angry faces (β = 0.52, R2= 0.38)
Emotional Stroop Task
Kindt et al., [[38]] Anxious group = 40 (11.5 yrs) Clinical diagnosis No group differences in interference effects from threat words
Healthy group = 14 (13.6 yrs)
Kindt et al., [[39]] High Anxious group = 25 (8–9 yrs) Trait Anxiety No group differences in interference effects from threat faces
Low Anxious group = 22 (8–9 yrs)
Kindt et al., [[40]] High Phobic group = 72 (8–12 yrs) Spider Phobia No group differences in interference effects from threat faces
Low Phobic group = 73 (8–12 yrs)
Martin et al., [41] Phobic group = 71 (4–9 yrs) Spider Phobia High Anxious group showed a greater interference from threat pictures
Healthy group = 72 (4–9 yrs)
Martin et al., [42] Phobic group = 24 (6–13 yrs) Spider Phobia High Anxious group showed a greater interference from threat words
Healthy group = 24 (6–13 yrs)
Kindt et al., [43] High Phobic group = 29 (8–12 yrs) Spider Phobia High Anxious group showed a greater interference from threat words
Low Phobic group = 30 (8–12 yrs)
Heim-Dreger et al., [32] Whole sample = 82 (8.6 yrs) State Anxiety, Trait Anxiety Trait and state anxiety correlated with greater interference from threat faces
Heim-Dreger et al., [32] Whole sample = 112 (9.0 yrs) State Anxiety, Trait Anxiety Trait and state anxiety correlated with greater interference from threat faces
Hadwin et al., [[44]] Whole sample = 74 (9.1 yrs) Trait Anxiety No correlation between trait anxiety and interference from threat faces
Richards et al., [45] High Anxious group = 24 (11.9 yrs) Trait Anxiety High Anxious group showed a greater interference from threat faces p 2= .12)
Low Anxious group = 26 (11.0 yrs)
Richards et al., [46] High Anxious group = 15 (16.9 yrs) Anxiety Symptoms High Anxious group showed a greater interference from threat words
Low Anxious group = 15 (16.0 yrs)
Visual Search Task
Hadwin et al., [47] Whole sample = 53 (7–10 yrs) Trait Anxiety Trait anxiety correlated with faster search times for threat cartoons when the threat-target was absent
Hadwin et al., [47] Whole sample = 38 (6–10 yrs) Trait Anxiety Trait anxiety correlated with faster search times for threat face when the threat-target was absent
Emotional Go/No-Go Task
Waters et al., [48] Anxious group = 20 (9.9 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious girls were slower in responding to ‘neutral face’ Go trials when embedded in ‘angry face’ No-Go trials
Healthy group = 20 (10.0 yrs)
Ladouceur et al., [49] Anxious group = 23 (12.5 yrs) Clinical diagnosis Anxious group were slower in responding to ‘neutral face’ Go trials when embedded in ‘angry face’ No-Go trials
  Healthy group = 26 (12.5 yrs)   
  1. GAD Generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder, SAD Separation anxiety disorder, SP social phobia, ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, MDD Major Depressive Disorder, SCR skin conductance responses.