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Parent-Child Relationships and the Verbal Information Pathway to Fear in Children: Two Preliminary Experiments

  • Andy P. Field (a1), Jess E. Ball (a1), Nicola J. Kawycz (a1) and Harriett Moore (a1)

Abstract

Parenting styles and the parent-child bond are associated with anxiety in children. Despite this association, little is known about the mechanism through which parenting has its effect. One possibility is that parenting interacts with other known pathways to fear. Two experiments are reported that look at the interaction between parenting styles and parent-child relationships and the verbal information pathway to fear. In Experiment 1, a punitive maternal parenting style was found to interact with the effect of threat information about a novel animal in 6–9-year-old children. Maternal warmth, neglect, overprotection and accurate monitoring were not found to have a significant effect. Experiment 2 showed that children reporting a greater number of negative interactions with their fathers had greater increases in fear beliefs about novel animals after both threat and no information. The quality of mother-child relationships did not significantly interact with the verbal information pathway. These experiments offer preliminary evidence that parenting practices influence how children react to negative information, which offers some insight into the potential causes of the association between parenting and anxiety in children.

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Corresponding author

Reprint requests to Andy P. Field, Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK. E-mail: andyf@sussex.ac.uk

Keywords

Parent-Child Relationships and the Verbal Information Pathway to Fear in Children: Two Preliminary Experiments

  • Andy P. Field (a1), Jess E. Ball (a1), Nicola J. Kawycz (a1) and Harriett Moore (a1)

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Parent-Child Relationships and the Verbal Information Pathway to Fear in Children: Two Preliminary Experiments

  • Andy P. Field (a1), Jess E. Ball (a1), Nicola J. Kawycz (a1) and Harriett Moore (a1)
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