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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2010 May;38(4):533-43. doi: 10.1007/s10802-010-9388-z.

Maternal control behavior and locus of control: examining mechanisms in the relation between maternal anxiety disorders and anxiety symptomatology in children.

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Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


This study tested components of a proposed model of child anxiety and examined the mediational roles of (1) maternal control behavior, (2) maternal external locus of control, and (3) child external locus of control in the association between maternal and child anxiety. Thirty-eight clinically anxious mothers and 37 nonanxious mothers participated along with one of their children aged 6 to 14 (52.0% female; 78.7% Caucasian). Path analysis indicated that the overall model fit the data very well. Analyses also indicated that child external locus of control mediated the associations between (1) maternal and child anxiety and (2) maternal control behavior and child anxiety. Maternal anxiety was not related to maternal control behavior and maternal external locus of control was not associated with child anxiety. Findings are discussed in the context of theoretical models (e.g., Chorpita and Barlow 1998) regarding the transmission of maternal anxiety to their children and the specific roles of maternal behavior and child locus of control.

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