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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999 Dec;67(6):826-36.

Characterizing interactions between anxious mothers and their children.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles 90024, USA.


The present study assessed interactions between anxious mothers and their children, using observational techniques to elucidate potential mechanisms of anxiety transmission. Results revealed that anxious mothers were less warm and positive in their interactions with their children, less granting of autonomy, and more critical and catastrophizing in comparison with normal control mothers. Maternal anxiety status appeared to be the primary predictor of maternal warmth during interactions. Child anxiety status was most predictive of maternal granting of autonomy behavior. Maternal behaviors exhibited during interactions were the most salient predictors of child anxiety, contributing more than maternal psychopathology or ongoing strain to the development of child anxiety. Interventions focusing on family interactions that take into account the contributions of both members of the dyad may be more effective in curbing transmission than interventions that solely address maternal or child symptomatology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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