The association between anxiety and nonverbal decoding ability in children: Age and gender differences Open Access

Sunshine, Jessica Anne (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/zg64tm59n?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract
The association between anxiety and nonverbal decoding ability in children: Age and gender differences
By Jessica A. Sunshine

The purpose of this study was to examine (1) if an association exists between the degree of anxiety in children referred for social problems and the ability to identify emotions in nonverbal communication channels and (2) to see if this association differs by age (5 to 8 years of age; and 9 to 12 years of age) or gender (male and female). Based on the theorizing of Sullivan (1956), Harris (1995), and Youniss (1980) who suggested that relationships were the basis for successful adjustment, it was predicted that there would be a positive correlation between nonverbal receptive skills and the degree of anxiety as observed and rated by parents. Scores from the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy Scale-2 (DANVA2) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) were obtained from the records of children (n = 331) seen at a social skills training center, Beyond Words. After conducting appropriate Spearman Correlations, it was found that gender acted as a moderating variable while age did not. The association between anxiety and nonverbal decoding ability varied depending on children's gender. The more anxious girls were, the significantly more mistakes they made identifying emotions in adult faces and voices than for boys. The findings were discussed within the framework of the different ways males and females learn to relate as children.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction...1

Anxiety...1

Anxiety in Social Situations...3
Anxiety and Relationships...4

Nonverbal Communication...5
Research Regarding the Social Adjustment and Nonverbal Decoding Ability Association...8
Age Differences...8
Gender Differences...11
Statement of the Problem...13

Method...15

Participants...15
Measures...16

DANVA2...16
CBCL...17

Procedure...18

Results...19
Discussion...21

Gender Differences...21
Age Differences...24
Limitations and Future Research...25

References...29

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