Parental anxiety disorders, child anxiety disorders, and the perceived parent-child relationship in an Australian high-risk sample

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2001 Feb;29(1):1-10. doi: 10.1023/a:1005260311313.


This study was designed to explore the role of perceived parenting behavior in the relationship between parent and offspring anxiety disorders in a high-risk sample of adolescents. We examined the relationship between parental and child anxiety disorders and tested whether perceived parenting behavior acted as a mediator between these variables. Analyses were performed on a high-risk sample of 816 fifteen-year-olds drawn from a birth cohort in Queensland, Australia. Parental depression and income were covaried. Maternal anxiety disorder significantly predicted the presence of anxiety disorders in children; the association between paternal anxiety disorder and child anxiety disorder was not significant. There was no evidence that perceived parenting played a mediating role in the association between mother and child anxiety disorders. These results replicate earlier studies' findings of elevated rates of anxiety disorders among the offspring of anxious parents, but only when the child's mother is the anxious parent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Perception
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors