- Do fathers matter? The relative influence of fathers versus mothers on the development of infant and child anxiety
- Award date
- 4 June 2015
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
The main aim of this thesis was to examine the different role of fathers and mothers in the development of anxiety in children, viewed from an evolutionary perspective. In this dissertation, the focus was on two parental factors that have been associated with anxiety in children: social referencing and parenting behavior. Different types of studies (literature review, experimental design, quasi-experimental design, cross-sectional design, and meta-analysis) and measures (questionnaires, scripts, observations) were used to assess the associations between child anxiety and maternal and paternal social referencing and parenting behavior in different age groups: infants between 10-15 months (Chapter 4 and 5), children aged 0-5 years (Chapter 6), and children aged 8-13 years (Chapter 3). In addition, we conducted a validation study of a newly developed questionnaire for the DSM-5 to measure symptoms of child anxiety in a dimensional way (Chapter 7).
In Chapter 2, a literature review was presented on evolutionary based differences in paternal and maternal parenting behavior in Western societies and this was applied to the intergenerational transmission of anxiety. The review discussed how the different specializations that men and women developed during the course of human evolution evolved (i.e., social competition and risk taking for men, and care, nurturing, and intimate bonding for women), and argued how these specializations are still reflected in their parenting behavior. The different role of maternal and paternal social referencing signals in child anxiety was examined in Chapter 3 and 4.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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