Aspects of Mothers’ Parenting: Independent and Specific Relations to Children’s Depression, Anxiety, and Social Anxiety Symptoms

Natalie M. Scanlon, Catherine C. Epkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theories on children’s depression, anxiety, and social anxiety note aspects of parenting such as acceptance/rejection and behavioral control. Despite these theoretical relations and high rates of comorbidity among children’s internalizing symptoms, no studies have examined multiple aspects of parenting and children’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, and social anxiety simultaneously. We examined mother- and child-reported mothers’ parenting behaviors (acceptance/rejection and behavioral control) and their combined, independent, and specific relations with children’s depression, anxiety, and social anxiety symptoms in a community sample of 124 mother–child dyads (children 10–12 years old). Children’s report of maternal behavioral control was related to mothers’ report of children’s anxiety problems. Importantly, children’s report of mothers’ acceptance/rejection was an independent predictor of all three child-reported symptom types, and child- and/or mother-report of maternal acceptance/rejection was an independent predictor of mothers’ report of children’s anxiety and affective problems. After controlling for anxiety, social anxiety, and both together, children’s perceived maternal acceptance/rejection emerged as a specific and unique predictor of children’s depression symptoms. But, after controlling for depression, parenting behaviors were no longer related to children’s anxiety and social anxiety. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed, as well as directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Children’s anxiety
  • Children’s depressive symptoms
  • Children’s social anxiety
  • Maternal acceptance/rejection
  • Maternal behavioral control

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