Parental responses to positive and negative emotions in anxious and nonanxious children

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2008 Apr;37(2):303-13. doi: 10.1080/15374410801955839.


This study examined the role of multiple children's emotions and parental anxiety during parent-child interactions of anxiety disordered (AD) and nonanxious (NA) children ages 7 to 13 years. Families (mother, father, child) each discussed three recent and real separate situations in which the child experienced anxiety, anger, and happiness. Results revealed significant differences in behavior between parents of AD and NA children. Maternal behavior, but not paternal behavior, was related to the emotion the child was experiencing. Mothers of AD children displayed greater intrusive involvement than mothers of NA children in those situations in which the child was experiencing negative affect. A significant interaction was evident between maternal anxiety disorder and emotion, whereby anxious mothers were more intrusive in situations involving anxiety and anger (compared to positive emotion situations), whereas nonanxious mothers were more intrusive only during situations involving anger.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Anger
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Anxiety, Separation / psychology
  • Anxiety, Separation / therapy
  • Child
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology
  • Communication*
  • Emotions*
  • Father-Child Relations
  • Female
  • Happiness
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mutism / psychology
  • Mutism / therapy
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy
  • Psychopathology