Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
Research Review: The relation between child and parent anxiety and parental control: a meta-analytic review
Article first published online: 19 MAR 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 49, Issue 12, pages 1257–1269, December 2008
How to Cite
Van Der Bruggen, C. O., Stams, G. J. J.M. and Bögels, S. M. (2008), Research Review: The relation between child and parent anxiety and parental control: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49: 1257–1269. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01898.x
(These studies are marked with an asterisk in the References section).
- Issue published online: 21 NOV 2008
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 2008
- Manuscript accepted 2 January 2008
- parent–child interaction;
Background: There is growing research interest in the association between parental control and child anxiety. Parental control may enhance child anxiety and parents may exert control in anticipation of their child’s anxiety-related distress. Moreover, high levels of anxiety in parents could influence the development of parental control. Whereas past reviews have solely examined the relation between child anxiety and parental control, this meta-analysis focuses on the associations between both child and parent anxiety and parental control.
Methods: The associations of parent anxiety and child anxiety with observed parental control (k = 23 studies, N = 1,305 parent–child dyads) were investigated using a meta-analytic approach. Moreover, factors were identified that may function as moderators of these relations, such as parent and child gender, family socioeconomic status, child age, and design and measurement characteristics.
Results: A substantial association between child anxiety and parental control (d = .58) was found. Moderator analyses yielded the strongest effect sizes for studies with an overrepresentation of girls, for school-aged children, for families from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, and for studies using a discussion task to assess parental control. Although a nonsignificant relation was found for the relation between parent anxiety and parental control (d = .08), small but significant effects were found for school-aged children, for studies using a discussion task to assess parental control, and for samples with an overrepresentation of boys.
Conclusions: As the direction of the association between child anxiety and parental control is unknown, future studies should use experimental designs to further explore the causal link between child anxiety and parental control.