- Associations between maternal and paternal parenting behaviors, anxiety and its precursors in early childhood: A meta-analysis
- Clinical Psychology Review
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
In this meta-analysis we investigated differential associations between maternal and paternal parenting behaviors (overcontrol, overprotection, overinvolvement, autonomy granting, challenging parenting) and anxiety and its precursors (fearful temperament, behavioral inhibition, shyness) in children (0-5 years). Two meta-analyses were conducted, one for mothers (k = 28, N = 5,728), and one for fathers (k = 12, N = 1,019). In general, associations between parenting and child anxiety were small. Associations between child anxiety and overcontrol, overprotection, and overinvolvement did not differ for mothers and fathers. Maternal autonomy granting was not significantly related to child anxiety, and no studies examined fathers' autonomy granting. A significant difference was found for challenging parenting; mothers' challenging parenting was not significantly related to child anxiety, whereas fathers' challenging parenting was related to less child anxiety. Post-hoc meta-analyses revealed that mothers' and fathers' parenting was more strongly related to children's anxiety symptoms than to child anxiety precursors. Moreover, the association between parenting and child anxiety symptoms was stronger for fathers than for mothers. In conclusion, although parenting plays only a small role in early childhood anxiety, fathers' parenting is at least as important as mothers'. Paternal challenging behavior even seems more important than maternal challenging behavior. Research is needed to determine whether challenging fathering can prevent child anxiety development.
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