Causal Factors of Anxiety Symptoms in Children
- *Corresponding Author:
- Filomena Valadão Dias
Department of Clinical Psychology
William James Center Research-WJCR
ISPA-University Institute, Rua Jardim do Tabaco
34, 1149-041 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel: 00351 966876195
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: June 07, 2016; Accepted Date: June 27, 2016; Published Date: July 04, 2016
Citation: Dias FV, Campos JADB, Oliveira RV, Mendes R, Leal I, et al. (2016) Causal Factors of Anxiety Symptoms in Children. Clin Exp Psychol 2:131. doi:10.4172/2471-2701.1000131
Copyright: © 2016 Dias FV, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Aim: The present work aimed to investigate the impact of the child’s cognitions associated with ambiguous stimuli that refer to anxiety, both parents’ fears and anxiety, and parents’ attributions to the child’s interpretations of ambiguous stimuli on child anxiety. The influence of parental modelling on child’s cognitions was also analyzed. Method: The final sample was composed of 111 children (62 boys; 49 girls) with ages between 10 and 11 years (M = 10.6, SD = 0.5) from a community population, and both their parents. The variables identified as most significant were included in a predictive model of anxiety. Results: Results revealed the children’s thoughts (positive and negative) related to ambiguous stimuli that describe anxiety situations. Parents’ fears and mothers’ anxiety significantly predict children’s anxiety. Those variables explain 29% of the variance in children general anxiety. No evidence was found for a direct parental modeling of child cognitions. Conclusion: Children’s positive thoughts seem to be cognitive aspects that buffer against anxiety. Negative thoughts are vulnerability factors for the development of child anxiety. Parents’ fears and anxiety should be analyzed in separate as they have distinct influences over children’s anxiety. Mothers’ fears contribute to children’s anxiety by reducing it, revealing a possible protective effect. It is suggested that the contribution of both parents’ fears to children’s anxiety may be interpreted acknowledging the existence of “psychological and/or behavioral filters”. Mothers’ filters seem to be well developed while fathers’ filters seem to be compromised. The contribution of mothers’ anxiety (but not fathers’ anxiety) to children’s anxiety is also understood in light of the possible existence of a “proximity space” between the child and parents, which is wider with mothers than with fathers.