BEHAVIORAL AND PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN OF PARENTS WITH SOCIAL PHOBIA: A PILOT STUDY
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Recent studies have noted a relation between the pattern of resting frontal EEG activity and individual differences in affective style in typically developing infants, children, and adults. The authors conducted a pilot study to investigate the pattern of frontal EEG activity during a resting condition (eyes-open, eyes-closed) in a group of children who had one parent clinically diagnosed with social phobia (SP; n = 6) and in a group of typically developing children of similar age with healthy parents (n = 7). Patients with a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of SP with at least one biological child were recruited from the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at McMaster University Medical Centre. We found that children of parents clinically diagnosed with SP tended to exhibit higher overall resting frontal EEG activity compared with the children of healthy parents. This pattern of overall high EEG activity that is specific to the frontal region is similar to that observed in socially anxious profiles. Preliminary findings are discussed in terms of how overall resting frontal brain activation may be an early psychophysiological marker for placing children of parents with social phobia at risk for socioemotional problems before such problems emerge.
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