Identifying Potential Risk Factors in Children of Anxious Caregivers
Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology
Stephanie H Felgoise, PhD, ABPP, Chairperson
Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD
Elliott W Simon, PhD
Although learning experiences within a child’s environment can influence and define the development of anxiety symptomatology, very little research has investigated the presentation of early anxious symptomatology in the offspring of anxious caregivers, even though their children are considered to be “at risk” for developing an anxiety disorder. This study sought to add to the understanding of the development of childhood anxiety disorders by examining caregivers’ anxiety as related to their children’s anxiety and their parenting strategies when their children are faced with fearful situations. Results of the present study indicated that caregiver anxiety predicted the degree of anxiety symptomatology caregivers reported in their children, as well as the parenting strategies used when helping their children in various fearful situations. As caregivers’ anxiety increased, so did the reported degree of anxiety in their children. Furthermore, caregivers with higher degrees of anxiety were more apt to report allowing their children to avoid fearful situations. Since overall anxiety and avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations were found to be more prevalent in children with an anxious caregiver, implications for further research include the potential benefits of prevention programs provided to high-risk children in conjunction with their anxious caregivers.
Masarik-Cantor, Maureen, "Identifying Potential Risk Factors in Children of Anxious Caregivers" (2016). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 385.