Paternal Child-Rearing Style and Child Social Anxiety: Investigation of Child Perceptions and Actual Father Behavior
This study examined associations among perceived and actual father behavior and child social anxiety. Forty-eight children (22 high socially anxious, 26 low socially anxious) completed self-report measures of social anxiety, general anxiety, and depression. Children also completed a measure of perceived parental style and subsequently collaborated with their fathers on a challenging task (origami). After controlling for general anxiety and depression, fathers of high socially anxious children exhibited more controlling behavior during the origami task; high and low socially anxious children, however, did not differ behaviorally from one another. Perceptions of father child-rearing style did not differ as a function of child social anxiety, nor were significant relations found between perceived parenting and specific father behaviors. Findings underscore the importance of assessing various types of internalizing symptoms (i.e., controlling for shared construct variance), obtaining children's perceptions of parental style in conjunction with conducting behavioral observations, and including fathers in psychopathology research.
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