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Mood assessment via animated characters: An instrument to access and evaluate emotions in young children

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.31A010    3,664 Downloads   6,151 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Objective: Mood Assessment via Animated Characters (MAAC) is a novel, computer-based instrument to improve assessment and communication about feelings in young children with internalizing distress. Well-validated assessment instruments are lacking for those under age eight years. Method: Children ages 4 - 10 years with primary diagnosis of anxiety disorder (n = 74; 33 boys, 41 girls) or no diagnosis (n = 83; 40 boys, 43 girls) completed MAAC for 16 feelings. Those 8 - 10 years also completed standardized measures of internalizing symptoms. Results: MAAC’s emotions clustered into positive, negative, fearful, and calm/neutral factors. Clinical children rated themselves less positive (difference score -3.18; p = 0.002) and less calm/neutral (difference score -2.06; p = 0.04), and explored fewer emotions spontaneously (difference score = -2.37; p = 0.02) than nonanxious controls. Older children’s responses correlated with scores on several standardized measures. Conclusions: MAAC appears to be highly engaging, with clinical utility in the assessment of young anxious children. Applications in other populations are considered for future study.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Manassis, K. , Mendlowitz, S. , Dupuis, A. , Kreindler, D. , Lumsden, C. , Monga, S. and Guberman, C. (2013) Mood assessment via animated characters: An instrument to access and evaluate emotions in young children. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 149-157. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.31A010.

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