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04-07-2020 | Uitgave 10/2020

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 10/2020

Parent- and Child-Factors in Specific Phobias: The Interplay of Overprotection and Negative Affectivity

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 10/2020
Nicole N. Capriola-Hall, Jordan A. Booker, Thomas H. Ollendick
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Specific phobias are among the most prevalent anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Although brief and intensive treatments are evidence-based interventions (Davis III et al. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 15, 233–256, 2019), up to one-third of youth do not show significant change in their symptoms following these interventions. Hence, consideration of additional factors influencing treatment response is necessary. Child-factors such as temperament and parent-factors such as parenting behaviors both contribute to the development of specific phobias and their maintenance over time. Specifically, we addressed child temperament (negative affectivity) and parenting behaviors (overprotection) that could uniquely predict clinical outcomes for specific phobias and that might interact to inform goodness-of-fit in the context of these interventions. We also considered whether child- and/or parent-gender shaped the effects of temperament or parenting on clinical outcomes. Participants were 125 treatment-seeking youth (M age = 8.80 years; age range = 6–15 years; 51.5% girls) who met criteria for specific phobia and their mothers and fathers. Mothers’ reports of children’s negative affectivity uniquely predicted poorer specific phobia symptom severity and global clinical adjustment at post-treatment. Interaction effects were supported between parental overprotection and child negative affectivity for post-treatment fearfulness. The direction of these effects differed between fathers and mothers, suggesting that goodness-of-fit is important to consider, and that parent gender may provide additional nuance to considerations of parent-child fit indices.

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