Article

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: 5.67). 04/2008; 49(12):1257-69. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01898.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    • "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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    • "However no mothers were included in this study. A meta-analysis by Van der Bruggen et al. (2008) also provides tentative support for the idea that paternal rearing is important in child anxiety. That is, the association between parental control and child anxiety was stronger in studies that did include father (n = 5, d = .84) "
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    • "We developed a coding scheme for parenting that was applicable to all three tasks, and that was informed by the wider literature (McLeod, et al., 2007; van der Bruggen et al, 2008), and our previous findings (Murray et al., 2007; 2008). Dimensions comprised expressed anxiety (i.e. "
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