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11. Associations between children’s emotional reactivity to film clips and concurrent psychopathology symptoms
Individual differences in the experience of emotion are thought to shape trajectories of psychopathology risk across development (Carthy et al., 2010; McLaughlin et al., 2011). Further research is needed, however, to elucidate patterns between children’s emotional reactivity and early emerging symptoms. We examined associations between children’s reactivity to emotionally evocative film clips and their concurrent psychopathology symptoms. During a laboratory visit, 39 children (22 girls; Mage= 7.19 years, SD = .76) viewed 20 film clips shown to elicit either positive affect, sadness, or fear in children (Gabel et al., in press). Children’s emotional responses to clips were assessed using children’s self-report and ratings of children’s facial expressions by independent coders. Responses were averaged across clips of the same valence to create scales reflecting reactivity to clips of each affect type (alphas = .60-.80). We found positive associations between coder- and child-rated positive affect as well as fear (rs = .35-.50), and between children’s self-reported worry and self-reported heightened reactivity to fear-eliciting clips. Multilevel modelling will be used to examine trajectories of children’s emotional reactivity, predicted by children’s psychopathology symptoms, across clips varying in potency and emotional content. Implications for the relationship between child psychopathology and emotional reactivity will be discussed.