Early Forms of Controlling Parenting and the Development of Childhood Anxiety

Abstract

We examined the distinct effects of early types of externally and internally controlling parenting (coercion and overprotection) on the development of childhood anxiety, while controlling for other important risk factors. Developmental trajectories of child anxiety were modeled from a Quebec representative sample (N = 2,120 children; 2.5- to 8-years of age). The relative impact of a host of putative child, mother, and family risk factors measured in early childhood was assessed using multinomial regressions. In addition to child shyness, maternal depression and family dysfunction, both coercive and overprotective parenting increase the risk for higher child anxiety. An interaction between maternal depression and overprotection was found, indicating that overprotection only increases child anxiety when maternal depression is high. Finally, maternal overprotection was also found to predict second grade teacher reports of children’s anxiety.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Affrunti, N. W., & Ginsburg, G. S. (2012). Maternal overcontrol and child anxiety: The mediating role of perceived competence. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 43, 102–112. doi:10.1007/s10578-011-0248-z.

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Akiskal, H. S. (1998). Toward a definition of generalized anxiety disorder as an anxious temperament type. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 98, 66–73. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1998.tb05969.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Asendorpf, J. B. (1990). Development of inhibition during childhood: Evidence for situational specificity and a two-factor model. Developmental Psychology, 26, 721–730. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.26.5.721.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Aunola, K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2005). The role of parenting styles in children’s problem behavior. Child Development, 76, 1144–1159. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00840.x-i1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Ballash, N. G., Leyfer, O., Buckley, A. F., & Woodruff-Borden, J. (2006). Parental control in the etiology of anxiety. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 9, 113–133. doi:10.1007/s10567-006-0007-z.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Barber, B. K., Stolz, H. E., & Olsen, J. A. (2005). Parental support, psychological control, and behavioral control: Assessing relevance across time, culture, and method. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 70. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3701442

  7. Barker, E. D., Jaffee, S. R., Uher, R., & Maughan, B. (2011). The contribution of prenatal and postnatal maternal anxiety and depression to child maladjustment. Depression and Anxiety, 28, 696–702. doi:10.1002/da.20856.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child Development, 37(4), 887–907. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1126611

  9. Baumrind, D., Larzelere, R. E., & Owens, E. B. (2010). Effects of preschool parents’ power assertive patterns and practices on adolescent development. Science and Practice, 10, 157–201. doi:10.1080/1529519090329079.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Behar, L. B., & Stringfield, S. (1974). A behavior rating scale for the preschool child. Developmental Psychology, 10, 601–610. doi:10.1037/h0037058.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Beidel, D. C., & Turner, S. M. (1997). At risk for anxiety: I. Psychopathology in the offspring of anxious parents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 918–924. doi:10.1097/00004583-199707000-00013.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Bigras, N., Bouchard, C., Cantin, G., Brunson, L., Coutu, S., Lemay, L., & Charron, A. (2010). A comparative study of structural and process quality in center-based and family-based child care services. In Child & Youth Care Forum, 39, 129–150. doi:10.1007/s10566-009-9088-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Bögels, S. M., & Brechman-Toussaint, M. L. (2006). Family issues in child anxiety: Attachment, family functioning, parental rearing and beliefs. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 834–856. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2005.08.001.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Boivin, M., Perusse, D., Dionne, G., Saysset, V., Zoccolillo, M., Tarabulsy, G. M., & Tremblay, R. E. (2005). The genetic-environmental etiology of parents’ perceptions and self-assessed behaviours toward their 5-month-old infants in a large twin and singleton sample. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 612–630. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00375.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Bosquet, M., & Egeland, B. (2006). The development and maintenance of anxiety symptoms from infancy through adolescence in a longitudinal sample. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 517–550. doi:10.1017/S0954579406060275.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Breton, J.-J., Bergeron, L., Valla, J.-P., Berthiaume, C., Gaudet, N., Lambert, J., & Lépine, S. (1999). Quebec child mental health survey: Prevalence of DSM-III–R mental health disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40, 375–384. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00455.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Cartwright-Hatton, S., McNicol, K., & Doubleday, E. (2006). Anxiety in a neglected population: Prevalence of anxiety disorders in pre-adolescent children. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 817–833. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2005.12.002.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Côté, S. M., Boivin, M., Liu, X., Nagin, D. S., Zoccolillo, M., & Tremblay, R. E. (2009). Depression and anxiety symptoms: Onset, developmental course and risk factors during early childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50, 1201–1208. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02099.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Côté, S. M., Boivin, M., Nagin, D. S., Japel, C., Xu, Q., Zoccolillo, M., & Tremblay, R. E. (2007). The role of maternal education and nonmaternal care services in the prevention of children’s physical aggression problems. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 1305–1312. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.11.1305.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Dadds, M. R., Barrett, P. M., & Rapee, R. M. (1996). Family process in child anxiety and aggression: An observational analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 24, 715–734. doi:10.1007/BF01664736.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Facilitating optimal motivation and psychological well-being across life’s domains. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 49, 14–23. doi:10.1037/0708-5591.49.1.14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Desrosiers, H. (2000). Longitudinal study of child development in Québec (ELDEQ 1998–2002; Vol. 1, No. 2). Family, child care and neighborhood characteristics. Québec, Canada: Institut de la statistique du Québec. Retrieved from http://www.jesuisjeserai.stat.gouv.qc.ca/bebe/bebe_no2.htm

  23. DiBartolo, P. M., & Helt, M. (2007). Theoretical models of affectionate versus affectionless control in anxious families: A critical examination based on observations of parent–child interactions. Clinical Child and Family Psychology, 10, 253–274. doi:10.1007/s10567-007-0017-5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Duchesne, S., Larose, S., Vitaro, F., & Tremblay, R. E. (2010). Trajectories of anxiety in a population sample of children: Clarifying the role of children’s behavioral characteristics and maternal parenting. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 361. doi:10.1017/S0954579410000118.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Farkas, M. S., & Grolnick, W. S. (2010). Examining the components and concomitants of parental structure in the academic domain. Motivation and Emotion, 34(3), 266–279. doi:10.1007/s11031-010-9176-7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Feng, X., Shaw, D. S., & Moilanen, K. L. (2011). Negative control moderates the shyness-emotion regulation pathway to school-age internalizing symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 425–436. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9469-z.

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Feng, X., Shaw, D. S., & Silk, J. S. (2008). Developmental trajectories of anxiety symptoms among boys across early and middle childhood. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 32–47. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.117.1.32.

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., & Diego, M. (2006). Intrusive and withdrawn depressed mothers and their infants. Developmental Review, 26, 15–30. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2005.04.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Grant, V. V., Bagnell, A. L., Chambers, C. T., & Stewart, S. H. (2009). Early temperament prospectively predicts anxiety in later childhood. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 54, 320–330. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/222845140?accountid=12543

  30. Grolnick, W. S. (2003). The psychology of parental control: How well-meant parenting backfires. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Grolnick, W. S., & Pomerantz, E. M. (2009). Issues and challenges in studying parental control: Toward a new conceptualization. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 165–170. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2009.00099.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Grolnick, W. S., Weiss, L., McKenzie, L., & Wrightman, J. (1996). Contextual, cognitive, and adolescent factors associated with parenting in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 25, 33–54. doi:10.1007/BF01537379.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Hammen, C., Burge, D., & Stansbury, K. (1990). Relationship of mother and child variables to child outcomes in a high-risk sample: A causal modeling analysis. Developmental Psychology, 26, 24–30. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.26.1.24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Hettema, J. M., Neale, M. C., & Kendler, K. S. (2001). A review and meta-analysis of the genetic epidemiology of anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 1568–1578. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.10.1568.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Hudson, J. L., & Rapee, R. M. (2009). Familial and social environments in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders. In M. M. Antony & M. B. Stein (Eds.), Oxford handbook of anxiety and related disorders (pp. 173–189). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Huijbregts, S. C., Séguin, J. R., Zoccolillo, M., Boivin, M., & Tremblay, R. E. (2008). Maternal prenatal smoking, parental antisocial behavior, and early childhood physical aggression. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 437–453. doi:10.1017/S0954579408000217.

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Jetté, M. (2002). Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD 1998-2000, Vol. 2, No. 1). Survey description and methodology (Part I: Logistics and longitudinal data collections). Québec, Canada: Institut de la statistique du Québec. Retrieved from http://www.jesuisjeserai.stat.gouv.qc.ca/bebe/bebe_v2no1.htm

  38. Jetté, M., & Des Groseilliers, L. (2000). Longitudinal study of child development in Québec (ELDEQ 1998–2000, Vol. 1, No. 1). Survey description and methodology. Québec, Canada: Institut de la statistique du Quebec. Retrieved from http://www.jesuisjeserai.stat.gouv.qc.ca/bebe/bebe_no1.htm

  39. Joussemet, M., Landry, R., & Koestner, R. (2008). A self-determination theory perspective on parenting. Canadian Psychology, 49, 194–200. doi:10.1037/a0012754.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Kagan, J., Snidman, N., Kahn, V., & Towsley, S. (2007). The preservation of two infant temperaments into adolescence. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 72, i–95.

  41. Kessler, R. C., McGonagle, K. A., Zhao, S., & Nelson, C. B. (1994). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United States: Results from the National Comorbidity Study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 51, 8–19. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950010008002.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Kline, R. B. (1998). Principales and practices of structural equation modeling. New York: Guildfors Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Koestner, R., Ryan, R. M., Bernieri, F., & Holt, K. (1984). Setting limits on children’s behavior: The differential effects of controlling versus informational styles on intrinsic motivation and creativity. Journal of Personality, 52, 233–248. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.1984.tb00879.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Kring, A. M., & Werner, K. H. (2004). Emotion regulation and psychopathology. In P. Philippot & R. S. Feldman (Eds.), The regulation of emotion (pp. 359–385). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Laskey, B. J., & Cartwright-Hatton, S. (2009). Parental discipline behaviours and beliefs about their child: Associations with child internalizing and mediation relationships. Child: Care Health and Development, 35, 717–727. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2009.00977.x.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Letcher, P., Smart, D., Sanson, A., & Toumbourou, J. W. (2009). Psychosocial precursors and correlates of differing internalizing trajectories from 3 to 15 years. Social Development, 18, 618–646. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2008.00500.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Mars, B., Collishaw, S., Smith, D., Thapar, A., Potter, R., Sellers, R., & Thapar, A. (2012). Offspring of parents with recurrent depression: Which features of parent depression index risk for offspring psychopathology?. Journal of Affective Disorders, 136, 44–53. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2011.09.002.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. McLeod, B. D., Wood, J. J., & Weisz, J. R. (2007). Examining the association between parenting and childhood anxiety: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 155–172. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2006.09.002.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Murray, L., Creswell, C., & Cooper, P. J. (2009). The development of anxiety disorders in childhood: An integrative review. Psychological Medicine, 39, 1413–1423. doi:10.1017/S0033291709005157.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  50. Nagin, D. S. (2005). Group-based modeling of development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Offord, D. R., Boyle, M. H., Szatmari, P., Rae-Grant, N., Links, P. S., Cadman, D. T., & Woodward, C. (1987). Ontario child health study: Six-month prevalence of disorder and rates of service utilization. Archives of Central Psychiatry, 44, 632–836. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800210084013.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Pahl, K. M., Barrett, P. M., & Gullo, M. J. (2012). Examining potential risk factors for anxiety in early childhood. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26(311–320), 2011. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.12.013.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Pardini, D. A. (2008). Novel insights into longstanding theories of bidirectional parent-child influences: Introduction to the special section. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 627–631. doi:10.1007/s10802-008-9231-y.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  54. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Rapee, R. M. (1997). Potential role of childrearing practices in the development of anxiety and depression. Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 47–67. doi:10.1016/S0272-7358(96)00040-2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  56. Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L., Grolnick, W. S., & La Guardia, J. G. (2006). The significance of autonomy and autonomy support in psychological development and psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Theory and method (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 795–849). New Jersey: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Snidman, N., Kagan, J., Riordan, L., & Shannon, D. C. (1995). Cardiac function and behavioural activity. Psychophysiology, 32, 199–207. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.1995.tb02949.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  58. Soenens, B., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2010). A theoretical upgrade of the concept of parental psychological control: Proposing new insights on the basis of self-determination theory. Developmental Review, 30, 74–99. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2009.11.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., Luyckx, K., Goossens, L., Beyers, W., & Ryan, R. M. (2007). Conceptualizing parental autonomy support: Adolescent perceptions of promotion of independence versus promotion of volitional functioning. Developmental Psychology, 43, 633–646. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.43.3.633.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  60. Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Luyten, P. (2010). Toward a domain-specific approach to the study of parental psychological control: Distinguishing between dependency-oriented and achievement-oriented psychological control. Journal of Personality, 78, 217–256. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00614.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  61. Spence, S. H., Najman, J. M., Bor, W., O’Callaghan, M. J., & Williams, G. M. (2002). Maternal anxiety and depression, poverty and marital relationship factors during early childhood as predictors of anxiety and depressive symptoms in adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 457–469. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00037.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  62. Steinberg, L. (1990). Autonomy, conflict, and harmony in the family relationship. In S. Feldman & G. R. Elliott (Eds.), At the threshold: The developing adolescent (pp. 255–277). US Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.

    Google Scholar 

  63. van der Bruggen, C. O., Stams, G. J. J. M., & Bögels, S. M. (2008). Research review: The relation between child and parent anxiety and parental control—A meta-analytic review. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, 1257–1269. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01898.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  64. Varela, R. E., Sanchez-Sosa, J. J., Biggs, B. K., & Luis, T. M. (2009). Parenting strategies and socio-cultural influences in childhood anxiety: Mexican, Latin American descent, and European American families. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 609–616. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2009.01.012.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  65. Wood, J. J., McLeod, B. D., Sigman, M., Hwang, W.-C., & Chu, B. C. (2003). Parenting and childhood anxiety: Theory, empirical findings, and future directions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 134–151. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00106.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Julie C. Laurin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Laurin, J.C., Joussemet, M., Tremblay, R.E. et al. Early Forms of Controlling Parenting and the Development of Childhood Anxiety. J Child Fam Stud 24, 3279–3292 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0131-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Controlling parenting
  • Child anxiety
  • Developmental trajectories
  • Coercion
  • Overprotection