This study examined associations between anxiety symptomatology and cognitive and physiological threat responses during threat learning in a large sample of children and adolescents. Anxiety symptomatology severity along different dimensions (generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, social anxiety, and panic symptoms) was measured using parental and self-reports. Participants completed differential threat acquisition and extinction using an age-appropriate threat conditioning task. They then returned to the lab after 7–10 days to complete an extinction recall task that also assessed threat generalization. Results indicated that more severe overall anxiety was associated with greater cognitive and physiological threat responses during acquisition, extinction, and extinction recall. During acquisition and extinction, all anxiety dimensions manifested greater cognitive threat responses, while panic, separation anxiety, and social anxiety symptoms, but not generalized anxiety, were related to heightened physiological threat responses. In contrast, when we assessed generalization of cognitive threat responses, we found only generalized anxiety symptoms were associated with greater threat response generalization. The study provides preliminary evidence of specificity in threat responses during threat learning across youth with different anxiety symptoms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation, Israel (ISF-920/19) and by a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, US (to R. Abend). Zohar Klein is grateful to Azrieli Foundation, Israel? for the award of an Azrieli Fellowship.
This research was supported by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation , Israel ( ISF-920/19 ) and by a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation , US (to R. Abend). Zohar Klein is grateful to Azrieli Foundation , Israel” for the award of an Azrieli Fellowship.
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.
- Anxiety symptoms
- Cognitive threat responses, physiological threat responses
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology