Selective mutism, social phobia, emotion regulation, psychophysiology, heart rate, electrodermal activity, respiratory sinus arrhythmia
To determine whether children with selective mutism (SM) withhold speech to regulate their emotional arousal and decrease automatic distress, the current study examines the behavioral and physiological responses of children with SM in comparison to children with social phobia (SP) and children with no psychiatric disorder (TD) as they participate in two social situations. A single case design strategy is used to compare behavioral and physiological responses both within and across groups. Examining the temporal sequencing of behaviors and physiology provides a direct test of the utility of emotion regulation theory as it pertains to children with social phobia/selective mutism. The results indicate that children with SM show elevated arousal and emotional reactivity across all interaction segments relative to other children. Unique affective, behavioral and physiological responses occur between and within groups in relation to situational demands. The temporal sequencing of behavioral and physiological responses suggests that behavioral deficits may be related to underutilized and/or deficient physiological response systems and that not speaking represents a primitive avoidance strategy by children with SM to regulate extreme physiological arousal.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences,Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Scott, Samantha L., "Is Selective Mutism An Emotion Regulation Strategy For Children With Social Phobia? A Single Case Design Investigation" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2369.