Article

Parent–child interactions and anxiety disorders: an observational study

Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 01/2002; 39(12):1411-1427. DOI: 10.1016/S0005-7967(00)00107-8

ABSTRACT Past research has indicated a potential link between anxiety and parenting styles that are characterised by control and rejection. However, few studies have utilised observational methods to support these findings. In the current study, mother–child interactions were observed while the child completed two difficult cognitive tasks. The sample consisted of clinically anxious children (n=43), oppositional defiant children (n=20) and non-clinical children (n=32). After adjusting for the age and sex of the child, mothers of anxious children and mothers of oppositional children displayed greater and more intrusive involvement than mothers of non-clinical children. Mothers of anxious children were also more negative during the interactions than mothers of non-clinical children. The differences between anxious and non-clinical interactions were equivalent across three separate age groups. The results support the relationship between an overinvolved parenting style and anxiety but question the specificity of this relationship.

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