Parental behaviors in child anxiety: An observational study

Delight Hicks Carmichael, Florida International University


The increasing awareness of the prevalence, impairment, and long-term consequences of childhood anxiety disorders have led investigators to explore psychosocial factors in the etiology of these disorders. Recent investigations have begun to focus on family-level processes in the etiology and/or maintenance of childhood anxiety disorders, specifically patterns of parent-child interaction. The present study compared parent-child interactions across three problem-solving tasks of clinically anxious children and their mothers versus non-referred children and their mothers in terms of (1) direct observation measures, (2) children's, mothers', and independent observer's subjective ratings, (3) and children's evaluations using videotape-aided thought reconstruction. Results suggested that the mothers of clinically anxious children engaged in fewer positive and more negative parenting strategies as compared to the mothers of non-referred children across three tasks. Although not significant, trends were evident among the subjective ratings reported by the clinically anxious children, mothers, and observer for the global perception indices. When videotape-aided thought reconstruction was used as a cue to elicit children's perceptions of the parent-child interactions, clinically anxious children reported less mother-referent positive statements and more mother-referent negative statements than non-referred children.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology|Social psychology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Carmichael, Delight Hicks, "Parental behaviors in child anxiety: An observational study" (2000). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9991044.