Research Review: The relation between child and parent anxiety and parental control: A meta-analytic review

Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 04/2008; 49(12):1257-69. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01898.x
Source: PubMed


There is growing research interest in the association between parental control and child anxiety. Parental control may enhance child anxiety and parents may exert control in anticipation of their child's anxiety-related distress. Moreover, high levels of anxiety in parents could influence the development of parental control. Whereas past reviews have solely examined the relation between child anxiety and parental control, this meta-analysis focuses on the associations between both child and parent anxiety and parental control.
The associations of parent anxiety and child anxiety with observed parental control (k = 23 studies, N = 1,305 parent-child dyads) were investigated using a meta-analytic approach. Moreover, factors were identified that may function as moderators of these relations, such as parent and child gender, family socioeconomic status, child age, and design and measurement characteristics.
A substantial association between child anxiety and parental control (d = .58) was found. Moderator analyses yielded the strongest effect sizes for studies with an overrepresentation of girls, for school-aged children, for families from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, and for studies using a discussion task to assess parental control. Although a nonsignificant relation was found for the relation between parent anxiety and parental control (d = .08), small but significant effects were found for school-aged children, for studies using a discussion task to assess parental control, and for samples with an overrepresentation of boys.
As the direction of the association between child anxiety and parental control is unknown, future studies should use experimental designs to further explore the causal link between child anxiety and parental control.

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    • "Though maternal psychopathology is predictive of child functioning deficits above and beyond genetic influences (Hammen et al. 1990), maternal diagnosis is a secondary factor to maternal behaviours toward one's child, when addressing the aetiology of childhood anxiety (e.g., Laskey and Cartwright- Hatton 2009; Murray et al. 2009). Over the last 15 years, seven meticulous literature reviews or meta-analyses targeting the impact of childrearing practices on the development of anxiety have been conducted in the clinical literature (Ballash et al. 2006; DiBartolo and Helt 2007; McLeod et al. 2007; Murray et al. 2009; Rapee 1997; van der Bruggen et al. 2008; Wood et al. 2003). Each suggests that diverse forms of controlling parenting are the strongest and most consistent parenting predictors of childhood anxiety, while parental harshness seems to yield an inconsistent effect on child anxiety. "
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the distinct effects of early types of externally and internally controlling parenting (coercion and overprotection) on the development of childhood anxiety, while controlling for other important risk factors. Developmental trajectories of child anxiety were modeled from a Quebec representative sample (N = 2,120 children; 2.5- to 8-years of age). The relative impact of a host of putative child, mother, and family risk factors measured in early childhood was assessed using multinomial regressions. In addition to child shyness, maternal depression and family dysfunction, both coercive and overprotective parenting increase the risk for higher child anxiety. An interaction between maternal depression and overprotection was found, indicating that overprotection only increases child anxiety when maternal depression is high. Finally, maternal overprotection was also found to predict second grade teacher reports of children’s anxiety.
    Journal of Child and Family Studies 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10826-015-0131-9 · 1.42 Impact Factor
    • "However, an earlier Indian study reported that high anxiety was prevalent in 20.1% of boys and 17.9% of girls and this difference was statistically significant.[18] There are few construct like ‘parental control’[192021] and ‘parental warmth’ versus ‘parental rejection’ comprising parental indifference, withdrawal, neglect, hostility, aggression, lack of affection, approval, and responsiveness[2223] that are associated with level of children anxiety. These constructs are unique to each child and also discriminated across gender of the child. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The prevalence of anxiety is high in school going children; however pattern of parenting and gender of the child are important factors for the development of anxiety. Gender role and parenting patterns are important construct that vary across different sociocultural setting hence are important to be studied in Indian context. Materials and Methods: In a cross sectional study all students of both sexes studying in class VIII, were assessed using the Spence anxiety scale (children version). Results: The sample consisted of 146 (55% male and 45% female) with a mean age of 12.71 years. A total of 16 (11%) students scored above cutoff for high anxiety, the mean scores across gender shows that female students scored significantly higher in total and all sub types of anxiety. Most of the students perceived their parents ‘Democratic’ and other two authoritarian and permissive type of parenting were almost equal. There was significantly higher anxiety among the students who perceived their parents as authoritarian. Conclusions: The prevalence of high anxiety was 11% in class VIII students. High anxiety in students was significantly associated with female gender and authoritarian parenting pattern as perceived by the children.
    Industrial psychiatry journal 07/2013; 22(2):131-7. DOI:10.4103/0972-6748.132927
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    • "The operationalization of the other subcomponent of overcontrol reported in McLeod et al., namely autonomy granting (defined as parental encouragement and acknowledgment of children's choices, solutions, and opinions and choices) overlaps more with our construct of challenging parenting behavior, which is in accordance with our findings regarding challenging parenting behavior. Of note, the positive associations between overinvolvement and child anxiety that were reported in the two meta-analyses (McLeod et al. 2007; Van der Bruggen et al. 2008), were almost entirely obtained from cross-sectional studies and not from longitudinal designs controlling for begin-level of child social anxiety, as we did. This suggests that challenging parenting behavior, and not overinvolvement , may cause or maintain child social anxiety. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent models on parenting propose different roles for fathers and mothers in the development of child anxiety. Specifically, it is suggested that fathers' challenging parenting behavior, in which the child is playfully encouraged to push her limits, buffers against child anxiety. In this longitudinal study, we explored whether the effect of challenging parenting on children's social anxiety differed between fathers and mothers. Fathers and mothers from 94 families were separately observed with their two children (44 % girls), aged 2 and 4 years at Time 1, in three structured situations involving one puzzle task and two games. Overinvolved and challenging parenting behavior were coded. Child social anxiety was measured by observing the child's response to a stranger at Time 1, and half a year later at Time 2, and by parental ratings. In line with predictions, father's challenging parenting behavior predicted less subsequent observed social anxiety of the 4-year-old child. Mothers' challenging behavior, however, predicted more observed social anxiety of the 4-year-old. Parents' overinvolvement at Time 1 did not predict change in observed social anxiety of the 4-year-old child. For the 2-year-old child, maternal and paternal parenting behavior did not predict subsequent social anxiety, but early social anxiety marginally did. Parent-rated social anxiety was predicted by previous parental ratings of social anxiety, and not by parenting behavior. Challenging parenting behavior appears to have favorable effects on observed 4-year-old's social anxiety when displayed by the father. Challenging parenting behavior emerges as an important focus for future research and interventions.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 06/2013; 42(2). DOI:10.1007/s10802-013-9774-4 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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