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A Multi-Informant Examination of Maternal Symptoms and Autonomy Granting in Youth Anxiety

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Abstract

Evidence suggests the important role of (a) parenting behaviors and (b) parental psychopathology in the development and maintenance of youth anxiety. Using a multi-informant approach, the current study examined the association of maternal autonomy granting and maternal symptoms (i.e., anxiety and depression) with youth anxiety among mothers and 88 youth (ages of 6–17) diagnosed with a principal anxiety disorder. Results from the generalized estimating equations (GEE) analyses indicated that mothers reported higher youth anxiety symptoms compared to youth self-reports. Youth-perceived maternal autonomy granting was inversely associated with youth anxiety, and maternal self-reported anxiety and depressive symptoms significantly moderated this relationship: As mothers reported higher anxiety and depressive symptoms, the inverse association between parental autonomy granting and youth anxiety weakened. The interaction between parenting behavior and parental psychopathology significantly influenced youth anxiety symptoms, which presents important clinical implications to integrate into parenting work in the treatment of youth anxiety disorders.

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Correspondence to Chiaying Wei or Philip C. Kendall.

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Wei, C., Swan, A.J., Makover, H.B. et al. A Multi-Informant Examination of Maternal Symptoms and Autonomy Granting in Youth Anxiety. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 48, 1001–1009 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-017-0722-3

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