Emotion Recognition in Parents Attending Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Objectives: This study sought to determine whether a computerised cognitive bias modification programme could be effective within a waiting-room setting for parents accompanying their children to CAMHS appointments. The primary objectives were to determine whether detectable changes to participants’ emotion recognition could be observed in this setting, and whether this approach would be acceptable to the population. Secondary measures investigated whether the programme would lead to changes in participants’ affect or changes in parents’ appraisals of difficulties with children. Methods: A computerised emotion recognition training task was delivered to all participants during four weekly sessions. Participants in the experimental condition (n=17) received feedback aiming to shift their detection of positive facial emotions, while those in the control condition (n=14) received feedback which was not designed to elicit any shift in emotion detection. Results: Positive shifts in emotion recognition were observed in the experimental group, although no changes were observed in secondary measures in either control or experimental groups. Qualitative data indicated that the programme was acceptable and appropriately constructed. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that cognitive bias modification is possible within a waiting-room setting, although the extent to which this can lead to clinically significant improvements in mood or relationships remains uncertain. This work has implications for emotion recognition interventions for clinical populations known to present with negative emotional biases (e.g. anxiety and depression) and represents an important first research step towards developing interventions to improve parent-child relationships.
Doctor of Clinical Psychology