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14-02-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2019 Open Access

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 4/2019

A Longitudinal Study on the Relations Among Fear-Enhancing Parenting, Cognitive Biases, and Anxiety Symptoms in Non-clinical Children

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 4/2019
Auteurs:
Lorraine Fliek, Jeffrey Roelofs, Gerard van Breukelen, Peter Muris
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Abstract

This longitudinal study explored the relations between fear-enhancing parenting behaviors (modeling and threat information transmission) and children’s cognitive biases and anxiety symptoms on three subsequent time points over a one-year period. Participants were 216 children aged 7–12 years (114 boys and 102 girls), and their mothers (n = 199) and/or fathers (n = 117). On each time point, children and parents completed the Parental Enhancement of Anxious Cognitions scale, which measures parental modeling and threat information transmission. Furthermore, children filled in a measure of anxiety disorder symptoms. In addition, confirmation bias and interpretation bias were measured by means of a number of computerized tasks. The results yielded support for a circular model in which cognitive biases enhanced anxiety symptoms, which in turn promoted cognitive biases on each of the three time points. However, no evidence was found for longitudinal effects of cognitive biases on anxiety or vice versa. In contrast to what we expected, cognitive biases and anxiety appeared to promote parental modeling and threat information rather than the other way around. These findings extend research on the relations between parenting behaviors, cognitive biases, and childhood anxiety symptoms, and suggest valuable leads for assessment and intervention.

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