Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 320–333 | Cite as

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

Original Article


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.


Child anxiety Maternal anxiety Expectations Overcontrol Anxious behavior 



This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH63427-02) awarded to Golda S. Ginsburg, Ph.D. During manuscript preparation, Kimberly Becker was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH18834).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mental HealthThe Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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