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The Relationship Between Parent Executive Functioning and Accommodation

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Abstract

Parent characteristics and behavior are known to impact child development. Anxiogenic parenting practices, in particular, have been hypothesized to contribute to the development and/or maintenance of child anxiety and related problems. The most widely studied anxiogenic parenting practice, accommodation, has been defined as a parent’s involvement in their child’s symptomology (i.e., excessive reassurance, changing family routines, assisting in avoidance). Recent literature has also examined the function that parent executive functioning (EF) may serve in parenting behavior. However, little is known about how parent characteristics such as EF may specifically impact anxiogenic parenting practices such as accommodation. Therefore, the current study aimed to examine accommodation within the context of parent EF. Parents of children between 7 and 17 years of age were recruited as part of a larger study and completed self-report measures of parental accommodation (i.e., Parenting Anxious Kids Rating Scale-Parent Report [PAKRS-PR; n = 80], Family Accommodation Scale-Anxiety [FASA; n = 46]) and several neurocognitive tasks. A series of hierarchical linear regressions were conducted to examine the association between EF and parent accommodation. Results indicated that aspects of planning/organization and inhibitory control approached statistical significance as predictors of parent accommodation as measured by the FASA subscales and the PAKRS-PR, respectively. Potential contributors to the lack of statistical significance, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

Highlights

  • Identifying parental risk factors for accommodation may allow clinicians to provide extra support to “high-risk” parents resulting in better treatment outcomes.

  • Executive functioning presents a novel potential correlate of accommodation.

  • Performance on two outcomes of a planning task and one outcome of an inhibitory control task approached significance as predictors of accommodation.

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Correspondence to Emily P. Wilton.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Written informed consent was obtained from the parents and verbal assent was obtained from all children.

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Material preparation and data collection were performed by all authors. The first draft of the manuscript was written, and results were analyzed by E.P.W. and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Wilton, E.P., Gladstone, T.R., Luke, A.K. et al. The Relationship Between Parent Executive Functioning and Accommodation. J Child Fam Stud 32, 314–332 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02155-3

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