Does childhood anxiety evoke maternal control? A genetically informed study

Eley, Thalia C.; Napolitano, Maria; Lau, Jennifer Y. F. and Gregory, Alice M.. 2010. Does childhood anxiety evoke maternal control? A genetically informed study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(7), pp. 772-779. ISSN 00219630 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Background:  Despite theoretical and empirical support for an association between maternal control and child anxiety, few studies have examined the origins of this association. Furthermore, none use observer-ratings of maternal control within a genetically informative design. This study addressed three questions: 1) do children who experience maternal control report higher anxiety levels than those who do not?; 2) to what extent do genetic and environmental factors influence maternal control and child anxiety?; 3) to what extent do genetic and environmental factors influence the associations between child anxiety and maternal control?

Method:  Five hundred and thirty 8-year-old children (from 265 twin pairs) and their mothers were observed participating in an ‘etch-a-sketch’ task from which maternal control was rated. Children rated their anxiety using the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders.

Results:  Children who experienced maternal behaviour rated as ‘extreme control’ reported higher anxiety levels than those who did not. Maternal control was highly heritable (A = .63), high self-rated anxiety less so (h2g = .36). The overlap between high child anxiety and maternal control was primarily due to shared genetic factors.

Conclusions:  These results suggest that maternal control is likely to have been elicited by children with high levels of anxiety.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02227.x

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
2010Published

Item ID:

5198

Date Deposited:

15 Mar 2011 14:59

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:19

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/5198

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