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Attention Bias to Threat Faces in Children with Bipolar Disorder and Comorbid Lifetime Anxiety Disorders

      Background

      Although comorbid anxiety disorders are common in children with bipolar disorder (BD), it is unclear how this comorbidity impacts the pathophysiology of the illness.

      Methods

      Pediatric BD with lifetime anxiety (BD+ANX, n = 20), BD without lifetime anxiety (BD-ANX, n = 11), and controls (n = 14) were administered the visual-probe paradigm, which assesses attention bias to threat faces.

      Results

      Bipolar disorder +ANX demonstrated a stronger bias toward threat relative to BD-ANX and controls; the latter two did not differ from each other.

      Conclusions

      Bipolar disorder +ANX showed a bias toward threat while, in two previous studies, anxious children showed a bias away from threat faces. Future studies should compare the pathophysiology of BD with and without a comorbid anxiety disorder and anxiety disorders presenting alone.

      Key Words

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