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10-06-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2017 Open Access

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 1/2017

Cognitive Bias as a Mediator in the Relation Between Fear-Enhancing Parental Behaviors and Anxiety Symptoms in Children: A Cross-Sectional Study

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 1/2017
Auteurs:
Lorraine Fliek, Pauline Dibbets, Jeffrey Roelofs, Peter Muris

Abstract

The present cross-sectional study explored the relations between fear-enhancing parenting behaviors (modeling and threat information transmission) and children’s cognitive biases and anxiety symptoms. Participants were 258 children aged 7–12 years (132 boys and 126 girls), and their mothers (n = 199) and/or fathers (n = 117). Children and parents completed the Parental Enhancement of Anxious Cognitions questionnaire, which measures parental modeling and threat information transmission, while children also filled in a scale for assessing anxiety symptoms. In addition, children conducted a number of computerized tasks for measuring confirmation and interpretation bias. The data indicated that both biases mediated the relationship between threat information transmission (of both parents) and children’s anxiety symptoms. Only interpretation bias significantly mediated the relationship between modeling (of mothers) and anxiety symptoms. These findings give partial support for the hypothesis that cognitive biases play a mediating role in the relation between fear-enhancing parental behaviors and children’s anxiety symptoms.

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