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01-03-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2015

The Associations of Executive Function and Temperament in a Model of Risk for Childhood Anxiety

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2015
Auteurs:
Nicholas W. Affrunti, Janet Woodruff-Borden

Abstract

Previous research on the etiology of anxiety disorders has implicated temperament as a significant factor. It has been theorized that the expression of temperament may be influenced by cognitive variables, particularly executive function. The current study tested a mediational model to investigate the combined and separate effects of childhood temperament and executive function, specifically the ability to shift cognitive sets, in the relation between parent and child anxiety. Participants were 102 parent–child dyads recruited from the community. Children were between the ages of 7 and 10 years old (60.7 % male, 93.2 % Caucasian) and most parents were mothers (91.2 %). Parents completed measures of parent anxiety, child temperament, and child executive function. Children completed a measure of child anxiety. Overall the data fit the model well. Further analyses indicated that temperament and executive function exerted individual and combined effects on the relation between parent and child anxiety. Executive function was also found to mediate the relation between temperament and child anxiety. The results suggest that separately temperament and executive function mediate the link between parent and child anxiety. Also, executive function may mediate the effect temperament has on child anxiety. Together, temperament and executive function may represent a specific pathway of risk, by affecting each other and the relation each has on the familial transmission of anxiety.

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