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The association between current maternal psychological control, anxiety symptoms, and emotional regulatory processes in emerging adults.

Authors
  • Goger, Pauline1
  • Rozenman, Michelle2
  • Gonzalez, Araceli3
  • 1 SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 University of Denver Department of Psychology, UCLA Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, USA.
  • 3 California State University Long Beach Department of Psychology, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry
Publication Date
Feb 21, 2020
Volume
68
Pages
101563–101563
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2020.101563
PMID: 32145580
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

High levels of psychological control (PC), the (intentional or unintentional) attempt by parents to control their child's emotional experience, have been associated with increased risk for anxiety in youth. However, little is known regarding the association between PC and anxiety in emerging adulthood, a developmental period marked by various life transitions and high risk for the onset of internalizing symptoms, or about the relation between current parental PC and emotional regulatory processes during this stage. The current study examined whether perceived maternal PC was significantly associated with anxiety symptoms and both objective (psychophysiological; respiratory sinus arrhythmia) and subjective (self-reported) emotion regulatory processes. Participants (N = 125; ages 18 to 25) completed self-reports on their anxiety symptoms, emotion regulation abilities, and perceptions of their mother' behavior, and participated in a laboratory stressor, the Trier-Social Stress Test, while psychophysiological data were acquired. Emerging adults who reported higher maternal PC also reported higher anxiety symptoms and evidenced greater emotion regulation difficulties on both objective and subjective indices than those who reported lower maternal PC. Moreover, the association between PC and anxiety levels was statistically mediated by self-reported emotion regulation difficulties. Results of this study should be interpreted in light of its limitations, which include it being cross-sectional in nature with a primarily female sample. Further, perceptions of maternal, but not paternal, parenting were examined. Findings might have implications for targeting both psychological control and emotion regulation difficulties in personalized anxiety interventions during this high-risk developmental period. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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