Mental health problems in adolescence and the interpretation of unambiguous threat

Henry, Julie D., Moses, Ernestina, Castellini, Julieta and Scott, James (2015) Mental health problems in adolescence and the interpretation of unambiguous threat. PLoS ONE, 10 6: 1-11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127167

Author Henry, Julie D.
Moses, Ernestina
Castellini, Julieta
Scott, James
Title Mental health problems in adolescence and the interpretation of unambiguous threat
Journal name PLoS ONE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-06-03
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0127167
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 6
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Subject 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Aberrant threat perception has been linked to paranoia, anxiety and other mental health problems, and is widely considered to be a core, transdiagnostic feature of psychopathology. However, to date there has been only limited investigation of whether mental health problems are associated with a biased interpretation of stimuli that have explicit (as opposed to ambiguous) connotations of threat. In the present study, 41 adolescents diagnosed with a mental illness and 45 demographically matched controls were asked to provide danger ratings of stimuli normatively rated as being either low or high in potential threat. All participants were also asked to complete background measures of cognitive function, mental health and wellbeing. The results indicated that the two groups did not differ in their capacity to discriminate between low and high threat stimuli, nor did they differ in the absolute level of threat that they attributed to these stimuli. However, for the control group, the overall level of threat perceived in facial stimuli was correlated with two important indices of mental health (depression and anxiety). No associations emerged in the clinical group. These data are discussed in relation to their potential implications for the role of aberrant threat perception in transdiagnostic models of mental health.
Keyword Mental health problems
Aberrant threat perception
Threat stimuli
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID DP1093234
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article # e0127167.

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