, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 320-333

Maternal Anxiety, Behaviors, and Expectations During a Behavioral Task: Relation to Children’s Self-Evaluations

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Abstract

This study examined the associations between maternal anxiety, behaviors, and expectations and children’s self-evaluations of distress, coping, and performance during a stressful performance evaluation task. Seventy-five mothers (38 clinically anxious and 37 nonanxious) along with one of their children aged 6–14 (52.0% female; 78.7% Caucasian) were videotaped while preparing the child to deliver a speech about themselves. Child and parent assessments were obtained before and after the speech, and independent coders rated maternal behavior during the speech preparation. Maternal anxiety and behaviors accounted for a greater proportion of variance in children’s self-evaluations than did maternal expectations, such that children of mothers who reported higher task anxiety and demonstrated more overcontrol and anxious behavior during the task evaluated themselves more negatively. These findings extend the literature by providing information about the relative associations between maternal factors and children’s self-evaluations within the context of an in vivo stressful situation.