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02-08-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2017

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 3/2017

Parenting Strategies to Deal with Children’s Anxiety: Do Parents Do What They Say They Do?

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 3/2017
Auteurs:
Ana Beato, Ana Isabel Pereira, Luísa Barros

Abstract

Parents’ perceptions about their strategies to deal with children’s anxiety have been minimally explored. Based on a mixed-method approach, the current study compared the strategies that parents said they use more frequently to deal with their child’s anxious behaviors and the strategies they actually used during two mildly anxiogenic interactions with their child. Forty-two parents of children with anxiety disorders, aged 9–12 years, participated in the study. Semi-structured interviews were administered to identify parental perceptions about their strategies to deal with their children’s anxiety. Subsequently dyadic interactions were observed and coded by two independent coders. We found discrepancies relating to four strategies. Significantly more parents used strategies based on overinvolvement and anxious behavior during the interactions than had been reported by them in the interviews. In contrast, reassurance and reinforcement of avoidance/dependence were used in interactions by fewer parents than would be expected, according to the interviews. Relevant implications for assessment and intervention with families of anxious children are suggested.

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