Journal of Child and Adolescent Health

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Research Paper - Journal of Child and Adolescent Health (2018) Volume 2, Issue 2

Assessment of emotional responses in preschoolers to an age-adapted stress task: Picture-based stress test and facial coding.

The capacity to respond and adapt to challenging conditions is known to impact on behavioral problems even in young children. Previous studies revealed that limited flexibility to adapt and respond to stress or challenging conditions is related to externalizing behavior problems already in 1.5 to 3-year old [1], but also to internalizing problems in older children aged 3 to 6 years [2]. Stress responses represent the adaptation to a challenging condition on a physiological, a cognitive, an emotional and a behavioral level. The assessment of stress response helps to understand potential risk conditions of psychopathological processes in young children. So far, mainly physiological stress responses have been in the focus of the research field and not emotional or behavioral responses to stress. Physiological stress responses (responses of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis (HPA) and the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)) are commonly measured during lab-based stress tasks [3] such as the classic Trier Social Stress Test TSST [4] which is a validand well-established social stress task for adults and adapted for older children [5]. The TSST includes socio-evaluative threats and uncontrollability. These factors are known to provoke physiological stress responses (HPA and ANS) even in young children [6-10].

Author(s): Stulb K, Messerli-Burgy N, Kakebeeke TH, Arhab A, Zysset AE, Leeger-Aschmann CS, Schmutz EA, Meyer AH,Bechtler B, Schneider S, Kriemler S, Jenni OG, Puder JJ, Munsch S

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