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.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research suggests that parents of anxious children behave differently when interacting with their children than do parents of nonanxious children. However, the relationship between parent language use in this context and child anxiety remains unclear. The present study investigates how parent language use relates to child anxiety during parent–child interactions using a community sample recruited to participate in a study of familial anxiety. Results indicate that parent language use varies in relation to child anxiety. Further, this idiosyncratic pattern of parent linguistic activity uniquely predicts child anxiety diagnostic status. Implications of this study and future directions for research are discussed.
    Child & Family Behavior Therapy 07/2012; 34(3):210-230. DOI:10.1080/07317107.2012.707089 · 0.67 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Five Minute Speech Sample (FMSS) originated in the adult psychiatry literature, and is mostly used for assessing caregivers' expressed emotion (EE) regarding a relative with mental illness. In recent years the FMSS has been increasingly employed in research with parents and young children. This review focuses on the FMSS procedure from a developmental perspective. We open with a historical overview of the origins of the FMSS and the EE coding system, followed by a summary of FMSS-EE developmental research. Next, adaptations of the FMSS-EE rating schemes and new FMSS coding systems that tap other aspects of the quality of parents' speech samples are outlined. Recent promising adaptations of the FMSS procedure that involve a series of follow-up questions or go beyond asking parents to speak about their child are also presented. In closing, conceptual and methodological considerations that are important for future advances in FMSS developmental research are identified, and specific recommendations to address these considerations are proposed.
    Developmental Review 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.dr.2015.01.005 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Parental behaviors, most notably overcontrol, lack of warmth and expressed anxiety, have been implicated in models of the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders in children and young people. Theories of normative development have proposed that different parental responses are required to support emotional development in childhood and adolescence, yet age has not typically been taken into account in studies of parenting and anxiety disorders. In order to identify whether associations between anxiety disorder status and parenting differ in children and adolescents, we compared observed behaviors of parents of children (7-10 years) and adolescents (13-16 years) with and without anxiety disorders (n = 120), while they undertook a series of mildly anxiety-provoking tasks. Parents of adolescents showed significantly lower levels of expressed anxiety, intrusiveness and warm engagement than parents of children. Furthermore, offspring age moderated the association between anxiety disorder status and parenting behaviors. Specifically, parents of adolescents with anxiety disorders showed higher intrusiveness and lower warm engagement than parents of non-anxious adolescents. A similar relationship between these parenting behaviors and anxiety disorder status was not observed among parents of children. The findings suggest that theoretical accounts of the role of parental behaviors in anxiety disorders in children and adolescents should distinguish between these different developmental periods. Further experimental research to establish causality, however, would be required before committing additional resources to targeting parenting factors within treatment.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10802-015-0005-z · 3.09 Impact Factor