Child Anxiety Sensitivity and Family Environment as Mediators of the Relationship between Parent Psychopathology, Parent Anxiety Sensitivity, and Child Anxiety

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Abstract

This study examined child anxiety sensitivity and family environment as mediators of the relationship between (1) parent psychopathology and anxiety sensitivity and (2) child anxiety in a community sample of 157 youths aged 7–18 years. Parents completed measures of anxiety sensitivity, psychopathology, and family environment. Youths completed measures of anxiety sensitivity and anxiety. One structural equation model was tested with child anxiety sensitivity as a mediator of (1) parent psychopathology and parent anxiety sensitivity and (2) child anxiety. Mediation was found with respect to parent psychopathology but not anxiety sensitivity. A second structural equation model was tested with family environment (conflict and control) as a mediator of (1) parent psychopathology and parent anxiety sensitivity and (2) child anxiety. Mediation was found with respect to parent psychopathology and anxiety sensitivity. Possible explanations for these pathways are discussed, including information transmission from parents to children, modeling anxiety-based reactions, temperament, and isolation of children from anxiety-provoking situations.

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