Lynne SIQUELAND : Anxiety in Children : Perceived Family Environments and Observed Family Interaction

By Lynne Siqueland, University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

Published in Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, Vol. 25, 1996

Assessed differences between families with a child diagnosed with anxiety disorder and control families on self-report measures of parenting and independent observers’ ratings of family interaction. Children rated their parents, and parents rated themselves on the parental variables of warmth/acceptance and psychological autonomy/control. Similar constructs were rated by independent observers of family interaction generated via a revealed differences discussion task. Parents of children with anxiety disorders were rated by observers as less granting of psychological autonomy than controls. In addition, children with anxiety disorders rated both their mothers and fathers as less accepting than control children rated their parents. Results are discussed in terms of socialization, family systems, and attachment theories regarding the tolerance and acceptance of different and/or negative emotions within families. The possible relation of family interaction styles to the internalizing disorders in childhood is explored.

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