University of Tasmania
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Anxiety and cognition in children and adolescents

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posted on 2023-05-27, 06:45 authored by Burrows, Linda J
The link between distorted thinking and anxiety in children and adolescents has long been established; however, there have been few studies which address gender differences or the effect of age on anxiety and cognition. The major aims of the thesis are to investigate age (via grade) and gender differences in the anxiety-induced cognitive output of children and adolescents, and to assess the effect of positive statements, coping statements and threat statements on state anxiety. To this end, a number of hypotheses are explored involving children from different grade levels in a series of four experiments. First it is hypothesised that there will be increases in the number of anxiety-induced cognitions as grade increases. Second, females will report significantly more coping and threat statements and significantly less positive statements. Third, that trait anxiety will be significantly positively correlated with coping and threat statements, and in addition, the relationship between positive cognitions and anxiety will be explored. Fourth it is hypothesised that those presented with positive statements will report significantly less state anxiety than those presented with coping or threat statements. It has been demonstrated that there are developmental changes in the presentation and intensity of children's fears, and previous research in the area has not controlled for these differences in selecting stimuli items to induce anxiety. Experiment 1 selected three fear items to be used to induce anxiety in later experiments which control for age differences. The Fear Survey Schedule for Children-II (FSSC-II; Gullone & King, 1992a) and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, 1983) or the State Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC; Spielberger 1973) were administered to 311 children from grades 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10. The selected items did not display significant effects of grade, were significantly positively correlated with trait anxiety and they were reported with notable levels of fear. It was not possible to select items that did not show gender differences because the majority of items were feared significantly more by females. The final selected items were 'having no friends', 'having an operation' and 'sharks'.


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Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 123-147)

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