Parental social anxiety disorder prospectively predicts toddlers' fear/avoidance in a social referencing paradigm

Leiden Repository

Parental social anxiety disorder prospectively predicts toddlers' fear/avoidance in a social referencing paradigm

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: Parental social anxiety disorder prospectively predicts toddlers' fear/avoidance in a social referencing paradigm
Author: Aktar, E.Majdandžić, M.De, Vente W.Bögels, S.M.
Journal Title: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue: 1
Volume: 55
Start Page: 77
End Page: 87
Pages: 11
Issue Date: 2014
Keywords: Social referencing
parental anxiety
father’s role
behavioral inhibition
Abstract: Background: Anxiety runs in families. Observational learning of anxious behavior from parents with anxiety disorders plays an important role in the intergenerational transmission of anxiety. We investigated the link between parental anxiety (parental lifetime anxiety disorders and expressed parental anxiety) and toddler fear/avoidance during social referencing (SR) situations. Method: Toddlers (N = 117) participated with both parents (with lifetime social anxiety disorder, other nonsocial anxiety disorders, lifetime comorbid social and other anxiety disorders, or without anxiety disorders) in a longitudinal study. Behavioral inhibition (BI) was measured at 12 months via observational tasks. At 30 months, children were confronted with a stranger and a remote-control robot in SR situations, separately with each parent. Children’s fear and avoidance, and parents’ expressions of anxiety, encouragement, and overcontrol were observed. Results: Toddlers of parents with lifetime social anxiety disorder (alone and comorbid with other anxiety disorders) showed more fear/avoidance in SR situations than toddlers of parents without anxiety disorders, while the effect of other anxiety disorders alone was not significant. Although expressed parental anxiety at 30 months in SR situations did not significantly predict toddlers’ fear/avoidance, higher levels of expressed anxiety at 12 months in SR situations by parents with comorbid social and other anxiety disorders predicted higher levels of fear/avoidance. BI at 12 months predicted toddlers’ fear/avoidance only with mothers, but not with fathers. Conclusions: Parental lifetime social anxiety disorders may be a stronger predictor of children’s fear/avoidance than parents’ expressions of anxiety in SR situations in toddlerhood. End of infancy may be a sensitive time for learning of anxiety from parents with comorbid lifetime social and nonsocial anxiety disorders in SR situations. Fathers are as important as mothers in the transmission of anxiety via SR. Furthermore, children may act relatively free of their early temperament in SR situations with fathers.
Uri: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcpp.12121/full
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/43811
 

Files in this item

Description Size View
application/pdf Parental social anxiety disorder 128.4Kb View/Open Full text at publisher site

This item appears in the following Collection(s)