Gender interactions in the recognition of emotions and conduct symptoms in adolescents.


BACKGROUND: According to literature data, impairment in the recognition of emotions might be related to antisocial developmental pathway. In the present study, the relationship between gender-specific interaction of emotion recognition and conduct symptoms were studied in non-clinical adolescents. METHODS: After informed consent, 29 boys and 24 girls (13-16 years, 14 +/- 0.1 years) participated in the study. The parent version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was used to assess behavioral problems. The recognition of basic emotions was analyzed according to both the gender of the participants and the gender of the stimulus faces via the ‘Facial Expressions of Emotion- Stimuli and Tests’. RESULTS: Girls were significantly better than boys in the recognition of disgust, irrespective from the gender of the stimulus faces, albeit both genders were significantly better in the recognition of disgust in the case of male stimulus faces compared to female stimulus faces. Both boys and girls were significantly better in the recognition of sadness in the case of female stimulus faces compared to male stimulus faces. There was no gender effect (neither participant nor stimulus faces) in the recognition of other emotions. Conduct scores in boys were inversely correlated with the recognition of fear in male stimulus faces (R=-0.439, p<0.05) and with overall emotion recognition in male stimulus faces (R=-0.558, p<0.01). In girls, conduct scores were shown a tendency for positive correlation with disgust recognition in female stimulus faces (R=0.376, p<0.07). CONCLUSIONS: A gender-specific interaction between the recognition of emotions and antisocial developmentalpathway is suggested.