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Investigating facial emotion recognition and theory of mind in relation to externalising behaviour in children: A systematic review and empirical study

Cooper, Sara 2018. Investigating facial emotion recognition and theory of mind in relation to externalising behaviour in children: A systematic review and empirical study. ClinPsy Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Facial emotion recognition (FER) difficulties are associated with both mental health and antisocial presentations in adolescents and adults (e.g., Dawel, O’Kearney, McKone, & Palermo, 2012). Externalising behaviours in children are one of the earliest signs of risk for the development of such difficulties. Therefore, understanding the relationship between social-emotional skills and externalising behaviours in children is crucial to understanding how best to intervene. In the systematic review, the evidence for the possible relationship between FER and externalising problems in pre-adolescent children was synthesised and evaluated. The review suggested strongest evidence for FER problems in ADHD or Callous-Unemotional presentations, and in samples of children with higher levels of externalising problems rather than in community samples. There was no evidence for specific emotions being implicated as some others have previously theorised (e.g., Blair, Leibenluft, & Pine, 2014). The empirical paper examined FER and Theory of mind (ToM) in sixty-eight children (age 4-7), oversampled for externalising behaviour problems. Older children (aged 6-7) evidenced stronger FER and ToM performance than younger children (aged 4-5). Emotion, intensity and their interaction affected FER accuracy. High intensity emotions and happiness were easier, and of negative emotions, sadness was easier to recognise than fear. Children with weaker ToM had lower verbal IQ and poorer FER performance even when controlling for IQ. Relatively high hyperactivity and/or conduct scores were related to greater difficulty recognising anger, and regression analyses indicated that hyperactivity accounted for more of this variance. Hyperactivity and/or conduct problems did not predict ToM performance. The final paper is a critical reflection on the research conducted and the process as a whole. The paper includes discussion of the research not conducted, the decisions made and a critique of the methodologies. Clinical and theoretical implications, dissemination and directions for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (DClinPsy)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 September 2018
Date of Acceptance: 20 August 2018
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2021 09:38

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