, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 251-259
Date: 25 Apr 2009

Effect of maternal panic disorder on mother–child interaction and relation to child anxiety and child self-efficacy

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To determine whether mothers with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia interacted differently with their children than normal control mothers, 86 mothers and their adolescents (aged between 13 and 23 years) were observed during a structured play situation. Maternal as well as adolescent anxiety status was assessed according to a structured diagnostic interview. Results showed that mothers with panic disorder/agoraphobia showed more verbal control, were more criticizing and less sensitive during mother–child interaction than mothers without current mental disorders. Moreover, more conflicts were observed between mother and child dyadic interactions when the mother suffered from panic disorder. The comparison of parenting behaviors among anxious and non-anxious children did not reveal any significant differences. These findings support an association between parental over-control and rejection and maternal but not child anxiety and suggest that particularly mother anxiety status is an important determinant of parenting behavior. Finally, an association was found between children’s perceived self-efficacy, parental control and child anxiety symptoms.