The current study investigated whether physical anxiety sensitivity (AS) is associated with selective attentional biases to affective stimuli in children. The dot-probe paradigm was used to examine the deployment of attention towards words pertaining to anxiety symptomatology, socially threatening words, and positive words, in samples of 8-10-year-old children. Word pairs were presented under both masked and unmasked conditions. Irrespective of masking, children high in physical AS displayed an attentional vigilance for emotional words relative to neutral words, whereas those low in physical AS displayed a relative avoidance of such material. The results of this study are interesting as they not only suggest the presence of automatic AS-related biases in childhood, but that this is a general emotionality bias rather than one related to specific anxiety-related stimuli. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Hunt, C., Keogh, E., & French, C. C. (2007). Anxiety sensitivity, conscious awareness and selective attentional biases in children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(3), 497-509. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2006.04.001