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12-07-2021 | Original Paper | Uitgave 10/2021

Journal of Child and Family Studies 10/2021

The Relation of Maternal Parity, Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia, and Overprotective Behaviors with Child Anxiety

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 10/2021
Auteurs:
Sydney M. Risley, Lauren B. Jones, Anne E. Kalomiris, Elizabeth J. Kiel
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Abstract

This study examined maternal characteristics that relate to child anxiety risk in a nonclinical sample. Parity and maternal respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) were examined in relation to maternal overprotective parenting behavior, and then to child anxiety risk. Mothers (n = 151) and their 24-month-old children participated in a laboratory visit in which mothers completed questionnaires about their parenting demographics (i.e., parity), their overprotective parenting behavior, and child anxiety risk. Mothers’ RSA was measured during a 5-min. baseline period. Maternal overprotection was observed during a puppet show episode. Moderated mediation analyses revealed that first-time motherhood indirectly related to increased anxiety risk through greater overprotective parenting when mothers also had high RSA. Results suggest high baseline maternal psychophysiology indicative of regulation serves as a context by which parity relates to maternal overprotection. Engaging in overprotection may require higher, rather than lower, regulatory capabilities. First-time mothers may benefit from psychoeducation around the way in which their parasympathetic regulation relates to their parenting behaviors and contributes to increased child anxiety proneness.

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