- Girls’ and mothers’ spider fear, maternal control and autonomy granting behavior, and the role of threat intensity during a spider exposure task
- Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
- Volume | Issue number
- 3 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
This experimental study examined (I) whether mothers' controlling and autonomy granting behaviors are related to daughters' approach behavior, and (II) whether mothers' perception of daughters' and/or own fear are related to mothers' controlling and autonomy granting behaviors.
Fifty girls with high levels of spider fear, aged 8-12 years, conducted a spider exposure task in the presence of their mother. The threat intensity of the task was manipulated using either a larger or a smaller spider, to examine (III) whether the relations are moderated by the degree of threat intensity during the mother-daughter interaction. Unexpectedly, results indicated that neither maternal control nor autonomy granting influenced their daughters' approach behaviour. Mothers responded with less autonomy granting, but not more control, in response to their own fear. Interestingly, this relation was only found in the high threat condition. Unexpectedly, no influence of daughters' fear on mothers' behaviors was found. Future research on the underlying processes in parent-child interactions with respect to the fear intensity of situations is needed.
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