Approach and Avoidance Tendencies in Spider Fearful Children: The Approach-Avoidance Task
Fear in children is associated with the tendency to avoid situations related to the fear. In this study, the Approach-Avoidance
Task (AAT) was evaluated as a test of automatic behavioral avoidance tendencies in children. A sample of 195 children aged
between 9 and 12 years completed an AAT, a Behavioral Assessment Task (BAT), and two spider fear questionnaires. The results
indicate that all children showed an automatic avoidance tendency in response to spider pictures, but not pictures of butterflies
or neutral pictures. Girls who reported more fear of spiders on the self-reports and behaved more anxiously during the BAT
also showed a greater avoidance tendency in the AAT. These relationships were absent in boys.