- Fear acquisition through maternal verbal threat information in middle childhood: the role of children's attachment to mother
- Parenting: Science and Practice
- Volume | Issue number
- 15 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Objective: Maternal verbal threat information influences fear acquisition during childhood. This study investigates whether child attachment moderates the impact of maternal verbal threat information on children’s fear beliefs and behavioral avoidance.
Design: Mothers of 60 children provided verbal threat information about one of two unfamiliar Australian animals. Change in children’s fear beliefs was measured with a questionnaire, and their behavioral avoidance was observed. Attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were measured using children’s self-report.
Results: The impact of verbal threat information on fear beliefs was not moderated by attachment. However, attachment anxiety enhanced the effect of maternal verbal threat information on child behavioral avoidance.
Conclusion: These results provide insight into complex processes that explain the impact of parent-child relationships on child fear acquisition through maternal verbal threat information.
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