The project aims to study social anxiety disorder in childhood and adolescence and is conducted in cooperation with the University of Freiburg (Prof. Dr. Tuschen-Caffier and team). The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

About the project

Attentional, neurophysiological and cognitive correlates of emotional reactivity and emotion regulation in 10- to 15-year-old children with Specific Phobia and Social Anxiety Disorder will be investigated in three sub-studies.

Modern research methods (electroencephalography and eyetracking) are used.

  • Project Management: 
    Prof. Dr. Tuschen-Caffier (University of Freiburg) & Prof. Dr. Julian Schmitz (Leipzig University)
  • Funding: 
    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Participation

Who can participate?
Children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15 can participate in our project about childhood anxiety. We are looking for children with strong anxieties about certain things (e.g. animals and insects, darkness, heights or syringes) or in social situations (e.g. being embarrassed in front of others) as well as children who do not have such anxieties

What is the project about?
In our study, we want to find out which processes play a role in childhood anxieties and how children and adolescents with strong anxieties differ from children with weaker anxieties.

How long does the study take?
In total, participation involves 3 appointments (each lasting 1.5 to 3 hours) within approximately 3 to 5 weeks. The appointments usually take place on weekday afternoons. At the first appointment, parents and child participate together. At the other two appointments, your child can participate alone.

Where does the study take place?
The study appointments take place at the Institute of Psychology in the center of Leipzig. 

What happens during each study appointment?
After an initial telephone appointment, during which we will talk to you about your child and the exact course of the project, you and your child will receive an invitation to the Institute of Psychology. The project then consists of the following three appointments:

  1. Appointment
    The first appointment will be about whether your child feels anxious in certain situations and how strong these anxieties are at the moment. For this, you and your child will do an interview with us and fill out an online-questionaire. Based on this information, we can decide if your child is a good candidate to participate in the study.
  2. Appointment

     During this appointment, we will examine how your child perceives other people and their emotions. For this purpose, we show photos of people with different facial expressions and household objects on a screen. Meanwhile, we record your child's gaze behavior with a special camera.

  3. Appointment
    At this last appointment, we will again show your child pictures of faces and household objects on a screen, while measuring brain activity using an electroencephalogram (EEG). For this purpose, your child will wear a cap made of fabric to which electrodes are attached. With these electrodes we can measure the electrical activity of the brain, the so-called brain waves, on the scalp. The EEG is not painful for children and is a risk-free method without side effects. Afterwards, we show your child pictures of faces again, which are audibly accompanied by statements about the persons depicted. We also measure the brain waves with the help of the EEG. At the very end, we will discuss the participation in the study with you and, if you wish, we will help you to find a suitable place for therapy. After one year, we will contact you again to ask how your child's anxiety has developed.

What is the benefit of participating?
Through your participation in the „Kinderängste“ project ...

... you will get an insight into scientific research and contribute to a better understanding of children's anxieties. If you are interested, we will be happy to send you the results of the study after it is completed. These results will be used to further improve training programs for children and adolescents so that fewer children have to live with severe anxiety. 

... you will receive detailed diagnostic information to better understand the problem situation that may be present. If it turns out that your child suffers from severe anxiety, we will be happy to help you choose a therapy option.

... you and your child will receive an expense allowance of 100 € for full participation in all examinations. Of this, we will distribute 70 € in vouchers to your child and 30 € to you.

Who can participate?
You can participate in our project on anxiety in children if you are between 10 and 15 years old. We are looking for children who often are afraid of certain things (e.g. animals, heights or syringes) or situations with others (e.g. giving a lecture at school). We are also looking for children who do not have these fears themselves. 

What is it about?
Everyone sometimes experiences anxiety in different situations. You probably know this feeling too, for example, of being afraid of the dark, of classwork, of scary movies or of doing something embarrassing. Some children and teenagers develop such strong fears that they feel bad about it or don't dare to do some things. For them, anxiety can be quite uncomfortable. We want to find out more about anxiety so we can better help these children and adolescents.  

How long does the study take?
You will visit us for a total of 3 afternoons for 1.5 to 3 hours each. At the first appointment your parents will be with you, at the other appointments you can come alone if you want to.

Where does the study take place?
The study dates take place at our Institute of Psychology in the center of Leipzig.

What happens at the different study appointments?

  1. Appointment
    First, we will talk to your parents on the phone to explain the project to them. Then you and your parents will be invited to the university. We will tell you and your parents exactly how the project works. If you have questions or do not understand something, you can always ask. There will always be someone with you who can help you if you need it. We will also do an interview with you and you will be allowed to fill out some questionnaires. The interview and the questionnaires are about how you feel in certain situations.
  2. Appointment
    At the second appointment you will come to the university again. There you will first have to fill in some questionnaires on the computer, which are again about how you feel in certain situations. Then we show you photos of faces and objects. Meanwhile we want to measure with a camera where you look exactly when you look at the pictures. 
  3. Appointment
    On this date you will come to the university for the last time. You will again see pictures of faces and objects. This time you will also hear sentences while looking at the faces. In the meantime, you will wear a cap with small cables hanging from it, so-called electrodes. With these electrodes we can measure how your brain reacts to the photos. But don't worry, we can't read your mind with them! 

Do I have to participate?

Of course not! Participation in our study is completely voluntary. What you say or write during the appointments will not be told to anyone else. You can end your participation in the study at any time if you want to.

What is the benefit if I participate?

You would be helping us to research the topic of child anxiety. With your help, training programs for children and adolescents can be improved so that fewer children have to live with severe anxiety. You will receive vouchers worth 70 € for full participation.

Perhaps you are one of the children who suffer from severe anxiety. We can then discuss together how you can be less afraid.

We would be happy to get to know you!

Illustration of a child with an EEG cap

EEG

Illustration of a child looking at a screen

Eyetracking

If you have any questions or are interested in our research project, please contact Anna-Lina Rauschenbach via E-Mail.

Team

Prof. Dr. Julian Schmitz

Prof. Dr. Julian Schmitz

Städt. Kaufhaus
Neumarkt 9
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-35951

M.Sc. Anna-Lina Rauschenbach

M.Sc. Anna-Lina Rauschenbach

Neumarkt 9
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-35991

B.Sc. Selma Kalhorn

B.Sc. Selma Kalhorn

B.Sc. Nina Tucholski

B.Sc. Nina Tucholski

B.Sc. Claudia Geißler

B.Sc. Claudia Geißler

You may also like

Early Child Development and Risk Factors

Read more

Psychotherapy Research

Read more

Outpatient Clinic

Read more