Emotion recognition deficits in pediatric anxiety disorders: Implications for amygdala research

Josh Easter, Erin B. McClure, Christopher S. Monk, Maya Dhanani, Hilary Hodgdon, Ellen Leibenluft, Dennis S. Charney, Daniel S. Pine, Monique Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Introduction: Anxiety disorders in adults involve aberrant processing of emotional information that is hypothesized to reflect perturbations in the amygdala. This study examines the relationship between face-emotion recognition and anxiety in a sample of children and adolescents participating in a brain-imaging study of amygdala structure and function. Methods: This study recruited 15 children and adolescents with ongoing anxiety disorders and 11 psychiatrically healthy comparisons group-matched on age, gender, and IQ. Face-emotion recognition was assessed using the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy Scale (DANVA). Results: Children and adolescents with anxiety disorders exhibited significantly poorer performance on the face-emotion recognition task compared to healthy controls (z = 2.2; p < 0.05). This difference was found only for expressions posed by adults but not children. Discussion: Reduced accuracy on a face-emotion recognition test is consistent with perturbed amygdala function in pediatric anxiety disorders. Conclusion: As this study was conducted in a sample undergoing a neuroimaging investigation of amygdala integrity, future analyses will examine associations among amygdala function, clinical anxiety, and face-recognition abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-570
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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