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24-09-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 6/2020

Child–Mother Reappraisal and Child’s Anxiety Among Anxious and Non-Clinical Groups

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 6/2020
Nava Wald, Yael Tadmor-Zisman, Vered Shenaar-Golan, Uri Yatzkar, Tal Carthy, Alan Apter
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Reappraisal is a major target of cognitive therapy for anxiety disorders because the absence or a low level of reappraisal ability has been identified among highly anxious adults and children. Not enough is known, however, about the development of this ability, although family processes have been implicated. The current study investigated reappraisal ability of anxious children and their mothers by (1) comparing clinical and non-clinical populations, (2) analyzing reappraisal correlations and contribution to child anxiety level, and (3) comparing pre-and post-cognitive behavioral therapy.


Participants were 49 children with a primary diagnosis of anxiety disorder and 42 children from a non-clinical population and their mothers. The children completed self-report measures of anxiety. Reappraisal ability was measured using a real-time computer test where children and mothers were asked to react to the content of negative valence pictures. The anxiety disorder group was reassessed again following CBT.


The clinical and non-clinical groups differed significantly on measures of reappraisal. Furthermore, mothers’ and children’s reappraisals were significantly correlated, and both predicted the child’s anxiety level. Following treatment, the mothers, but not the children, showed significant improvement in reappraisal.


The current study highlights the need to target parent reappraisal as an important factor in the development of child anxiety and reappraisal ability.

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