, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 812-819
Date: 01 Jan 2013

Parental and Family Factors as Predictors of Threat Bias in Anxious Youth

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Abstract

The present study examined the relative predictive value of parental anxiety, parents’ expectation of child threat bias, and family dysfunction on child’s threat bias in a clinical sample of anxious youth. Participants (N = 488) were part of the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multi-modal study (CAMS), ages 7–17 years (M = 10.69; SD = 2.80). Children met diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety and/or social phobia. Children and caregivers completed questionnaires assessing child threat bias, child anxiety, parent anxiety and family functioning. Child age, child anxiety, parental anxiety, parents’ expectation of child’s threat bias and child-reported family dysfunction were significantly associated with child threat bias. Controlling for child’s age and anxiety, regression analyses indicated that parents’ expectation of child’s threat bias and child-reported family dysfunction were significant positive predictors of child’s self-reported threat bias. Findings build on previous literature by clarifying parent and family factors that appear to play a role in the development or maintenance of threat bias and may inform etiological models of child anxiety.