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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    • "Specifically, as particular parental behaviours are more likely to occur in the context of elevated child state anxiety (e.g., Creswell et al., 2013; Hudson et al., 2008) and in performance, rather than discussion based, tasks (van der Bruggen et al., 2008), we used a well-established challenging performance task to induce a mild degree of stress in the children (a social speech task; e.g., Gar and Hudson, 2008), and took into account potential group differences in children's expressed anxiety. In addition, previous studies have found stronger associations between parental anxiety and parental controlling behaviours when precisely defined behaviours are assessed , rather than more general categories (Murray et al., 2012; van der Bruggen et al., 2008). Thus, we assessed specific dimensions of behaviour that have previously been linked to parental anxiety using an established coding scheme (e.g., Creswell et al., 2013; Murray et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: High levels of parental anxiety are associated with poor treatment outcomes for children with anxiety disorders. Associated parental cognitions and behaviours have been implicated as impediments to successful treatment. We examined the association between parental responsibility beliefs, maternal anxiety and parenting behaviours in the context of childhood anxiety disorders. Methods: Anxious and non-anxious mothers of 7-12 year old children with a current anxiety disorder reported their parental responsibility beliefs using a questionnaire measure. Parental behaviours towards their child during a stressor task were measured. Results: Parents with a current anxiety disorder reported a greater sense of responsibility for their child's actions and wellbeing than parents who scored within the normal range for anxiety. Furthermore, higher parental responsibility was associated with more intrusive and less warm behaviours in parent-child interactions and there was an indirect effect between maternal anxiety and maternal intrusive behaviours via parental responsibility beliefs. Limitations: The sample was limited to a treatment-seeking, relatively high socio-economic population and only mothers were included so replication with more diverse groups is needed. The use of a range of stressor tasks may have allowed for a more comprehensive assessment of parental behaviours. Conclusions: The findings suggest that parental anxiety disorder is associated with an elevated sense of parental responsibility and may promote parental behaviours likely to inhibit optimum child treatment outcomes. Parental responsibility beliefs may therefore be important to target in child anxiety treatments in the context of parental anxiety disorders.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 09/2015; 188:127-133. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2015.08.059 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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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; 24(11). 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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