The current study examined differences in emotion expression identification between adolescents characterised with behavioural inhibition (BI) in childhood with and without a lifetime history of anxiety disorder. Participants were originally assessed for BI during toddlerhood and for social reticence during childhood. During adolescence, participants returned to the laboratory and completed a facial emotion identification task and a clinical psychiatric interview. Results revealed that behaviorally inhibited adolescents with a lifetime history of anxiety disorder displayed a lower threshold for identifying fear relative to anger emotion expressions compared to non-anxious behaviorally inhibited adolescents and non-inhibited adolescents with or without anxiety. These findings were specific to behaviorally inhibited adolescents with a lifetime history of social anxiety disorder. Thus, adolescents with a history of both BI and anxiety, specifically social anxiety, are more likely to differ from other adolescents in their identification of fearful facial expressions. This offers further evidence that perturbations in the processing of emotional stimuli may underlie the aetiology of anxiety disorders.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)