Reluctance to express emotion explains relation between cognitive distortions and social competence in anxious children

Brandon G. Scott, Armando Pina, Julia H. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Guided by social information processing and affective social competence models, the focal objective of this research was to examine the relations among anxious children's cognitive distortions, social skill competence, and reluctance to express emotion. In addition, we explored whether children's attention control played any meaningful role. Using a sample of 111 anxious children (Mage = 9.63, SD = 0.73; 75.7% girls; 56% Hispanic/Latino), we found that cognitive distortions were negatively related to social competence. In addition, tests of moderated mediation showed that the negative association between cognitive distortions and social skill competence was indirect via reluctance to express emotion, but this only was the case for anxious children with high attention control and for distortions in the academic domain. The findings of this study may set the stage for new ways to conceptualize the role of higher attention control among anxious youth. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Cognitive errors are prevalent in anxious youth Anxious children show socio-emotion deficits What does this study add? Cognitive errors are related to socio-emotion deficits in anxious youth Relations depend on attention control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-417
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • anxiety
  • attention control
  • cognition
  • emotion regulation
  • social competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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