Author(s): Bgels SM, Zigterman D
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Abstract According to cognitive theories of anxiety, anxious adults interpret ambiguous situations in a negative way: They overestimate danger and underestimate their abilities to cope with danger. The present study investigated whether children with social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder have such a bias, compared to a clinical and a normal control group. Children were exposed to stories in which ambiguous situations were described, and asked to give their interpretations, using open and closed responses. Results showed that anxious children reported more negative cognitions than control children. However, anxious children did not overestimate danger on the free responses, but they did judge the situations as more dangerous on the closed responses. Anxious children had lower estimations of their own competency to cope with danger than the control groups on both open and closed responses. The results indicate that children with anxiety disorders have dysfunctional cognitions about ambiguous situations.
This article was published in J Abnorm Child Psychol
and referenced in Clinical and Experimental Psychology