Science

Childhood Friendship Influences Each Other’s Fear Response

By Rodney Rafols , Dec 26, 2016 04:03 AM EST
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Close friendships are important, especially for kids. They can have an effect on how a kid can grow and respond. Now a study shows that childhood friendship influences each other's fear response.

The study has been the first in noting that children who are close share the same fears. They also discuss this fear with each other. Some fears might be attributed to genetics, but a majority of the fears that children have come from the environment. Experiences, as well as child raising, can instill those fears in children.

Lead author Jinnie Ooi of the University of East Anglia is doing the study for Ph.D. for the university's School of Psychology. She said that close friends can share similar thoughts and fears. Close friends can reinforce each other's fears. She hopes that the study can provide interventions where friends can be used to lessen the other's fears.

The study has found that children who discuss their fears don't become more negative about it. This has shown that group therapy might be helpful even for children. Having a support group could also ease parents who might be concerned that it could only reinforce their child's fears even more.

The study has looked into 242 British children from the ages of seven to ten years old, according to Science Daily. They first had to answer questionnaires to see what are their anxiety and fear beliefs. After that, the children were shown pictures of Australian marsupials that were unfamiliar to the children. Two descriptions had been given to them about the animals, one which was neutral while the other described them as threatening. After that, the children were assessed and then partnered into pairs to discuss what they have seen and heard.

The children were also assessed for their avoidance response, as Alpha Galileo reports. For the test, a map with an enclosure has been shown to them. At the end of the enclosure is the animal, while another path would lead to an exit from it. The children then had to mark where they would like to be in the enclosure. The test shows how much avoidance the children have based on their knowledge about the animals.

The results of the tests have shown that children's fears are drawn from each other. The fears that they have become similar as they discuss similar feelings about them. The tests show that childhood friendship influences each other's fear response. A study has been made that a low carb diet can boost intelligence.

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