Swartz, J.R., Graham-Bermann, S.A., Mogg, Karin, Bradley, B.P. and Monk, C.S.
Attention bias to emotional faces in young children exposed to intimate partner violence
Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 4, (2), . (doi:10.1080/19361521.2011.573525).
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Children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) are at increased risk for negative mental health outcomes, including the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Little is known about the cognitive mechanisms that mediate the development of PTSD after IPV exposure. The goal of the current study was to test whether attention bias to threat was associated with a diagnosis of PTSD in young children (4 to 6 years old) exposed to IPV. The probe detection task, which uses reaction times in response to probes to assess attention orientation to emotional faces, was administered to IPV-exposed children to measure their attention bias to angry and happy faces, relative to neutral faces. The results indicated that IPV-exposed children with PTSD had greater attention bias toward angry faces than IPV-exposed children without PTSD. This suggests that attention bias to threat is associated with the development of PTSD in children exposed to IPV.
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