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  • When people think of anxiety, they usually think of the “fight or flight” response. This physiological response occurs in order to protect humans from danger. This survival mode has been a passed down generations to maintain the human species. These symptoms are present during anxiety.
  • Throughout human development people will go through stages of anxiety which is referred to as the “ontogenetic parade”. First, children develop fears of the dark or of the monster in the closet. This will eventually subside to adolescent fears of belonging and joining groups. After that, adult fears will follow which consist of having a sense of feeling productive with a career and having a family.
  • The was retrieved from Muris & Field (2008) and combines Kendall’s (1985) cognitive theory of childhood anxiety and the information processing perspective (Crick & Dodge, 1994). It focuses on the information processes of youths and cognitive biases. It has been assumed that anxious children first process a situation as threat related. During the encoding stage the attention of the youth is focused towards a threatening stimuli (attention bias). Next, during the interpretation stage, enhanced memory for information involving dangers or threats (memory bias) and there is a tendency to attach a threatening meaning to ambiguous stimuli (interpretation bias). This concludes that the situation is consistently perceived as dangerous. Anxiety and fear are heightened and further strengthens the idea of danger present. This fuels the cycle of interpretation and memory bias, and the anxiety is continually elevated in the situation. The child’s anxiety increases during the exposure to the situation and may lead to anxiety sensitivity. This is a fear of the symptoms that occur with anxiety which could possibly develop and elevate the anxiety even more.
  • Worrying is another action that overcomes individuals who have anxiety. Kelly and Millers (1999) tri-belief cognitive model of worry gives another explanation of how individuals with anxiety disorder think. The tri-belief model suggests that worriers hold assumptions about themselves and the world in general.“Worriers attempt to evaluate situations and their abilities to protect themselves in/from those situations. Regardless of their vigilance and attempts to solve problems, however, they ultimately feel inadequate to solve these problems” (Kelly & Kelly, 2007).
  • There has been an increase in studies regarding emotion regulation. Emotion regulation is different from emotional reactivity, which refers to responses to changes in external and internal environments. Emotion regulation can be defined as the “modulation of a given emotional reaction” (Suveg, et al, 2009). According to these authors there is research showing how important emotion regulation is in youth’s overall psychosocial functioning. It is documented that youth with anxiety disorders have trouble understanding and regulating their emotions. This leads to the need to add to current CBT for individuals who have emotion regulation issues. Therapy that involves the understanding one’s emotions can help guide the individual to process their emotions in a healthy way. This can broaden the spectrum of treatment options.


  • 1. Correlation of Distorted Cognition and Emotional Dysregulation in Children with Anxiety Disorders
    Arielle Love
    Advanced General Psychology
    Argosy University
    Dr. Marie Dube
  • 2. Abstract
    This paper takes a deeper look at studies on children with anxiety disorders. It summarizes the recent studies of cognitive processes of individuals with anxiety. It also takes a further look at a new look into emotional dysregulation and how it is another important factor to consider when treating and understanding individuals with anxiety disorders, especially children. Taking the background information on both factors including biological factors can bring a more in depth understanding of the disorder in children. This paper is trying to bring more exposure to the idea of correlating emotional regulation and cognitive processes in anxiety. This will help to encourage the discussion of including emotional regulation in treatment and therapy.
  • 3. Anxiety
  • Anxiety is Normal
    Common Stressors
    • College student taking a midterm exam
    • 9. A blind date
    • 10. High school student taking a driver’s license exam
    • 11. Child starting class at a new school
    • 12. Presenting a speech in front of a crowd
  • Anxiety Progression
  • 13. An anxiety disorder occurs when fears become frequent, irrational and take over one’s life
  • 14. Childhood Anxiety Disorders
    Childhood anxiety disorders can have an emotional and social negative impact on children’s lives. It can cause behavior avoidance, social withdrawal, and a lack of personal development. It is imperative to continue to understand the cognitive processes that occur with anxiety. So far, understanding the distorted cognition has helped to treat individuals through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • 15. Cognitive Process Model
  • 16. Worrying
  • 17. Emotions
    Emotions play a huge role in a person’s life. People link their emotions with special or distinctive memories and events in their lives.
  • 18. Emotional Dysregulation
    Defined as poor or improper modulation of a given emotional reaction
    A link between youth with anxiety disorders and emotional regulation discovered
  • 19. Strengths and Weaknesses
    Numerous research on cognition available
    Links discovered between emotion and cognition
    This is a relatively new subject
    There is not enough research on this topic yet
  • 20. References
    Broeren, S., & Muris, P. (2009). The Relation Between Cognitive Development and Anxiety Phenomena in Children. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 18(6), 702-709.
    Dvorak-Bertsch, J. D. et al., (2007). Anxiety Moderates the Interplay Between Cognitive and Affective Processing. Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 18(8), 699-705.
    Kelly, W. E., & Kelly, K. E. (2007). A Tale of Two Shoulds: The Relationship Between Worry, Beliefs One Should Find a Right Solution, and Beliefs One Should Worry to Solve Problems. North American Journal of Psychology, 9(1), 103-110.
    Muris, P., & Field, A. P. (2008). Distorted cognition and pathological anxiety in children and adolescents. Cognition & Emotion, 22(3), 395-421.
    Suveg, C., Sood, E., Comer, J. S., & Kendall, P. C. (2009). Changes in Emotion Regulation Following Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxious Youth. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 38(3), 390-401.
    Vujanovic, A., Zvolensky, M., & Bernstein, A. (2008). The Interactive Effects of Anxiety Sensitivity and Emotion Dysregulation in Predicting Anxiety-related Cognitive and Affective Symptoms. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 32(6), 803-817.