Objectives: To better understand anterior EEG asymmetry as an indicator of individual differences in motivational biases and comorbid symptoms of anxiety in HFA children, we examined (1) the short-term stability of anterior asymmetry, and (2) the associations between frontal asymmetry and anxious apprehension versus anxious arousal (Heller et al., 2003).
Methods: Sixteen children and adolescents with HFA completed the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC), which assesses components of anxiety, including those associated with different cognitive processes (i.e., anxious arousal vs. anxious apprehension). EEG data were collected from 18 scalp sites on two occasions over a 6-week interval. EEG asymmetry was computed for homologous electrode pairs (e.g., lnF4-lnF3). More positive scores were indicative of relative left frontal asymmetry.
Results: EEG asymmetry at Time 1 and Time 2 were significantly correlated at the midfrontal site (r = .43, p < .05, df = 15). Left frontal asymmetry was associated with reports of general anxiety but the magnitude and direction of the association did not differ for the anxious arousal versus anxious apprehension dimensions.
Conclusions: These data suggest that EEG asymmetry provides a stable index of bio-behavioral motivation processes in HFA children. However, the results did not support the hypothesis that differences in phenomenology (apprehension versus arousal) could explain the association of anxiety with left asymmetry in HFA children.