Abstract/Details

The role of control in anxiety in children and adolescents


2006 2006

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Abstract (summary)

Previous researchers have hypothesized that a perceived lack of control is a psychological vulnerability to anxiety (Chorpita, Brown, & Barlow, 1998). This study examines the function of locus of control in anxiety in children and adolescents. Locus of control was hypothesized to be a mediator between behavioral control in the family environment and anxiety in children, and between emotional expression in the family and anxiety in children. Locus of control was hypothesized to be a moderator of emotional expression in the family and anxiety in adolescents, and of behavioral control in the family and anxiety in adolescents. Children (n=212, ages 6 to 11) and adolescents (n=203, ages 13 to 18) with clinical levels of anxiety were included in the sample.

Results of this study support a shift in the role of locus of control from childhood to adolescence. Locus of control served as a mediator between behavioral control in the family and negative affect in children. However, locus of control functioned as a moderator of behavioral control in the family and negative affect in adolescence. Locus of control was not associated with family emotional expression in children. However, locus of control was a mediator between emotional expression in the family and negative affect in adolescence.

The study also incorporated mothers' and fathers' attributions and report of their own psychological distress. Neither parent's attributions of control were significantly related to behavioral control in the family environment. In adolescents, parental negative affect was not associated with emotional expression in the family. However, in children, paternal negative affect was associated with less emotional expression in the family.

This study provides support for the hypothesis that a perceived lack of control is a cognitive vulnerability for anxiety. It also addresses the impact of environmental factors in the family on anxiety. Consistent with previous research, a family environment with high behavioral control indirectly impacts anxiety symptoms. However, a family environment that allows for little expression of emotion has a more direct impact on anxiety symptoms, particularly in adolescence. Further longitudinal research is needed to fully demonstrate a shift in cognitive vulnerability from childhood to adolescence.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Psychotherapy;
Social psychology
Classification
0622: Psychotherapy
0451: Social psychology
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Adolescents; Anxiety; Children; Locus of control; Parenting
Title
The role of control in anxiety in children and adolescents
Author
Choate-Summers, Molly Lenore
Number of pages
131
Publication year
2006
Degree date
2006
School code
0017
Source
DAI-B 67/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780542506437, 0542506432
Advisor
Pincus, Donna B.
University/institution
Boston University
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3202547
ProQuest document ID
305364446
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/305364446
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