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Span J Psychol. 2012 Jul;15(2):631-7.

Perceived control and anxiety in Portuguese children.

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Faculdade de Psicologia, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.


The central role of perceived control in the development of anxiety disorders is proposed by several theoretical models. The main objective of the present study was to examine the relation between perceived control and anxiety in Portuguese school-age children. To accomplish this objective we developed the Portuguese short form of the Anxiety Control Questionnaire for Children (ACQ-C, Weems, 2005; Pereira & Barros, 2010), whose psychometric studies are presented. The sample comprised 238 children, aged 8 to 15 years, from the general population attending Portuguese schools. Children completed measures of perceived control (ACQ-C) and their anxiety (Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders--Revised, SCARED-R). The psychometric studies indicate good psychometric characteristics of the Portuguese ACQ-C short form, in particular a high internal consistency (a = .85) and an adequate temporal stability (r = .60, p = .002). Results show a significant negative association between perceived control and anxiety symptomatology, providing partial support for models that assign a central role to control beliefs in explaining the development of anxiety disorders. These results also suggest the importance of considering the perception of control as a prime target for preventive actions and intervention aimed at reducing anxiety in school aged children.

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