Anxiety Sensitivity: An Examination of the Relationship With Authoritarian, Authoritative, and Permissive Parental Styles

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A substantial literature has investigated the role of parenting on a child's development. Several classifications of parenting styles (i.e., permissive, authoritarian, authoritative) have been linked to a wide range of negative outcomes such as mood and anxiety problems; however, their respective associations to anxiety sensitivity (AS) remain unclear. Using a nonclinical sample of young adults (N = 227), this study is the first to empirically investigate whether parenting styles were differentially associated with AS, controlling for general depression and anxiety symptoms. Hierarchical linear regression analyses showed that authoritarian and permissive styles were associated with elevated AS. Permissive parenting was associated with the AS physical subfactor, whereas authoritarian parenting was associated with the AS social subfactor. Moreover, AS was found to mediate the relationship between specific parental styles and anxiety symptoms as well as depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that AS may mediate the relationship between parenting styles and negative psychological outcomes.

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