Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Parental Anxiety Disorders, Child Anxiety Disorders, and the Perceived Parent–Child Relationship in an Australian High-Risk Sample

  • Erin B. McClure
  • Patricia A. Brennan
  • Constance Hammen
  • Robyne M. Le Brocque


This study was designed to explore the role of perceived parenting behavior in the relationship between parent and offspring anxiety disorders in a high-risk sample of adolescents. We examined the relationship between parental and child anxiety disorders and tested whether perceived parenting behavior acted as a mediator between these variables. Analyses were performed on a high-risk sample of 816 fifteen-year-olds drawn from a birth cohort in Queensland, Australia. Parental depression and income were covaried. Maternal anxiety disorder significantly predicted the presence of anxiety disorders in children; the association between paternal anxiety disorder and child anxiety disorder was not significant. There was no evidence that perceived parenting played a mediating role in the association between mother and child anxiety disorders. These results replicate earlier studies' findings of elevated rates of anxiety disorders among the offspring of anxious parents, but only when the child's mother is the anxious parent.

Risk anxiety disorder perceived parenting parental psychopathology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amin, N., Foa, E. B., & Coles, M. E. (1998). Negative interpretation bias in social phobia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36, 945-957.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, G., Stewart, G., Allen, R., & Henderson, A. S. (1990). The genetics of six neurotic disorders: A twin study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 19, 23-29.Google Scholar
  3. Barber, B. K., Olsen, J. E., & Shagle, S. C. (1994). Associations between parental psychological and behavioral control and youth internalized and externalized behaviors. Child Development, 65, 1120-1136.Google Scholar
  4. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182.Google Scholar
  5. Bedford, A., Foulds, G. A., & Sheffield (1976). A new personal disturbance scale (DSSI/sAD). British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 15, 387-394.Google Scholar
  6. Beck, A. T. (1987). Beck Depression Inventory. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  7. 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.Google Scholar
  8. Brennan, P. A., Hammen, C., Andersen, M. J., Bor, W., Najman, J. M., & Williams, G. M. (in press). Chronicity, severity and timing of maternal depressive symptoms: Relationships with child outcomes at age five. Developmental Psychology.Google Scholar
  9. Breslau, N. (1985). Depressive symptoms, major depression, and generalized anxiety: A comparison of self-reports on CES-D and results from diagnostic interview. Psychiatry Research, 15, 219-229.Google Scholar
  10. Capps, L., Sigman, M., Sena, R., Henker, B., & Whalen, C. (1996). Fear, anxiety, and perceived control in children of agoraphobic parents. Journal of Child Psychology, Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 37, 445-452.Google Scholar
  11. Crijnen, A. A. M., Achenbach, T. M., & Verhulst, F. C. (1997). Comparisons of problems reported by parents of children in 12 cultures: Total problems, externalizing, and internalizing. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 1269-1277.Google Scholar
  12. Dierker, L. C., Merikangas, K. R., & Szatmari, P. (1999). Influence of parental concordance for psychiatric disorders on psychopathology in offspring. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 280-288.Google Scholar
  13. First, M. B., Spitzer, R. L., Gibbon, M., & Williams, J. B. W. (1995). Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV axis I disorders. Washington: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  14. Fleiss, J. L. (1982). Statistical methods for rates and proportions (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Gerlsma, C., Emmelkamp, P. M. G., Arrindell, W. A. (1990). Anxiety, depression and perception of early parenting: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 10, 251-277.Google Scholar
  16. Goldstein, R. B., Wickramaratne, P. J., Horwath, E., & Weissman, M. M. (1997). Familial aggregation and phenomenology of 'early'-onset (at or before age 20 years) panic disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 54, 271-278.Google Scholar
  17. Hankin, B. L., Abramson, L. Y., Moffitt, T. E., Silva, P. A., McGee, R., & Angell, K. E. (1998). Development of depression from preadolescence to young adulthood: Emerging gender differences in a 10-year longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107, 128-140.Google Scholar
  18. Henry, B., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Langley, J., & Silva, P. A. (1994). On the “remembrance of things past”: A longitudinal evaluation of the retrospective method. Psychological Assessment, 6, 92-101.Google Scholar
  19. Hirshfeld, D. R., Biederman, J., Brody, L., Faraone, S. V., & Rosenbaum, J. F. (1997). Expressed emotion toward children with behavioral inhibition: Associations with maternal anxiety disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 911-924.Google Scholar
  20. Keeping, J. D., Najman, J. M., Morrison, J., Western, J. S., Andersen, M. J., & Williams, G. M. (1989). A prospective longitudinal study of social, psychological, and obstetrical factors in pregnancy: Response rates and demographic characteristics of the 8,556 respondents. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 96, 289-297.Google Scholar
  21. Kendler, K. S., Neale, M. C., Kessler, R. C., Heath, A. C., & Eaves, L. J. (1992). Generalized anxiety disorder in women: A population-based twin study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 49, 267-272.Google Scholar
  22. Kendler, K. S., Walters, E. E., Neale, M. C., Kessler, R. C., Heath, A. C., & Eaves, L. J. (1995). The structure of the genetic and environmental risk factors for six major psychiatric disorders in women: Phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, bulimia, major depression, and alcoholism. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52, 374-383.Google Scholar
  23. Last, C. G., Hersen, M., Kazdin, A. E., Francis, G., & Grubb, H. J. (1987). Psychiatric illness in the mothers of anxious children. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1580-1583.Google Scholar
  24. MacLeod, A. K., Tata, P., Kentish, J., & Jacobsen, H. (1997). Retrospective and prospective cognitions in anxiety and depression. Cognition and Emotion, 11, 467-479.Google Scholar
  25. Matthews, A., & Mackintosh, B. (1998). A cognitive model of selective processing in anxiety. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22, 539-560.Google Scholar
  26. McNally, R. J., & Foa, E. G. (1987). Cognition and agoraphobia: Bias in the interpretation of threat. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 11, 567-581.Google Scholar
  27. Mufson, L., Weissman, M. M., & Warner, V. (1992). Depression and anxiety in parents and children: A direct interview study. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 6, 1-13.Google Scholar
  28. Muris, P., & Merckelbach, H. (1998). Perceived parental rearing behaviour and anxiety disorders symptoms in normal children. Personality and Individual Differences, 25, 1199-1206.Google Scholar
  29. Muris, P., Steerneman, P., Merckelbach, H., & Meesters, C. (1996). The role of parental fearfulness and modeling in children's fear. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 34, 265-268.Google Scholar
  30. Orvaschel, H. (1989). Diagnostic interviews for children and adolescents. In C. Last & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of child psychiatric diagnosis. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  31. Pauls, D. L., Alsobrook, J. P. II, Goodman, W., Rasmussen, S., & Leckman, J. F. (1995). A family study of obsessive-compulsive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 76-84.Google Scholar
  32. Rapee, R. M. (1997). Potential role of childrearing practices in the development of anxiety and depression. Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 47-67.Google Scholar
  33. Schludermann, S., & Schludermann, E. (1988). Shortened Child Report of Parent Behavior Inventory (CRPBI-30): Schludermann Revision. Unpublished manuscript, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.Google Scholar
  34. Silverman, W. K., Cerny, J. A., Nelles, W. B., & Burke, A. E. (1988). Behavior problems in children of parents with anxiety disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27, 779-784.Google Scholar
  35. Siqueland, L., Kendall, P. C., & Steinberg, L. (1996). Anxiety in children: Perceived family environments and observed family interaction. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 25, 225-237.Google Scholar
  36. Torgersen, S. (1983). Genetic factors in anxiety disorders, Archives of General Psychiatry, 40, 1085-1089.Google Scholar
  37. Turner, S. M., Beidel, D. C., & Costello, A. (1987). Psychopathology in the offspring of anxiety disorders patients. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 229-235.Google Scholar
  38. Vasey, M. W., Daleiden, E. L., Williams, L. L., & Brown, L. M. (1995). Biased attention in childhood anxiety disorders. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 23, 267-279.Google Scholar
  39. Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1984). Negative affectivity: The disposition to experience aversive emotional states. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 465-490.Google Scholar
  40. Weissman, M. M. (1993). Family genetic studies of panic disorder. Journal of Psychiatry Research, 27, 69-78.Google Scholar
  41. Whiffen, V. E., & Sasseville, T. M. (1991). Dependency, self-criticism, and recollections of parenting: Sex differences and the role of depressive affect. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 10, 121-133.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin B. McClure
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Brennan
    • 1
  • Constance Hammen
    • 2
  • Robyne M. Le Brocque
    • 3
  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlanta
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  3. 3.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations