The Relationship Between Mothers' Stress Level and Anxiety Ratings of Their Children
AuthorAnderson, Nicole E.
AdvisorMorris, Richard J.
Committee ChairMorris, Richard J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAnxiety disorders can affect up to 21% of children, with a wide range of negative consequences on academic performance and interpersonal relationships. Recently, there has been an emphasis on the prevention of childhood anxiety, especially considering that anxiety disorders in children often go unnoticed, and treatment is not sought. Identifying risk and protective factors is important in developing prevention programs. A lower stress level in mothers has been theorized to be one variable that may protect against childhood anxiety.In this regard, the present study was designed to examine the relationship between mothers' stress level and anxiety ratings of their children, and determine whether level of maternal stress is significantly correlated with ratings of child anxiety by both mothers and teachers. The study also examined whether there are significant differences between child anxiety scores related to child's gender, ethnicity, or mother's marital status, or interaction effects between these variables and mothers' stress level on child anxiety.Data were collected from the mothers and teachers of 64 first grade children. Mothers completed Parental Stress Index - Short Form (PSI-SF), and both mothers and teachers completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and data was analyzed using Pearson product moment correlations and Analyses of Variance, as well as regression analyses. Results indicated that ratings of child anxiety on the CBCL by both mothers and teachers were significantly positively correlated with mothers' stress scores on the PSI. It was also found that, in addition to child anxiety problems, child ADHD problems and oppositional/defiant problems made a significant contribution to explaining the total stress scores of mothers.Differences between groups existed relating to mothers' marital status, with children of single mothers having significantly higher anxiety scores, as rated by their mothers. However, differences did not exist relating to child's ethnicity and child's gender. Findings of this study have important implications regarding prevention programs, and highlight the fact that children may be negatively impacted by high levels of maternal stress. Further exploration of the consequences of high levels of maternal stress is needed to gain an understanding of the long-term effects of mothers' stress on their children.
Degree ProgramSchool Psychology