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24-10-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2020

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 4/2020

Parental Emotion-Focused Behaviors Moderate the Relationship Between Perceptual Sensitivity and Fear Reactivity in Anxious Children

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 4/2020
Auteurs:
Emma C. Woodward, Andres G. Viana, Elizabeth M. Raines, Erika S. Trent, Abigail E. Candelari, Eric A. Storch, Michael J. Zvolensky
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Abstract

This investigation examined the synergistic role of parental emotion-focused socialization behaviors and children’s perceptual sensitivity on children’s fear reactivity. A sample of 105 children with anxiety disorders (8–12 years; M = 10.07 years, SD = 1.22; 57% female) and their clinically anxious mothers (M = 39.35 years, SD = 7.05) completed an assessment battery that included a diagnostic interview and questionnaires regarding anxiety symptoms, perceptual sensitivity, and emotion socialization behaviors; children also completed a 5-min, videotaped speech task, and rated their fear levels before and after the task. Analyses revealed a significant interaction between perceptual sensitivity and emotion-focused strategies predicting fear change scores from pre- to post-speech. Higher perceptual sensitivity was related to greater reductions in fear from pre- to post- speech (adjusting for pre-speech fear scores), yet only among anxious children whose mothers reported high use of emotion-focused strategies. Maternal emotion-focused socialization strategies may increase anxious children’s ability to modulate their affective responses during stressful situations.

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