Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Theoretical models of childhood psychopathology suggest that the parent-child relationship serves an influential role in the development and maintenance of internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, there is a great deal of inconsistency in the research literature on the predictive power of parenting variables such as parental control and parental care. Furthermore, these parenting variables are often poorly defined and inconsistently operationalized across studies, hampering interpretation of results and limiting conclusions on the strength of the effect. Additionally, few studies have examined the role of parenting with careful attention to moderators. In order to investigate these problems, 189 mother-child dyads (children between the ages of 8 and 16) from an existing database were analyzed. The relationships between maternal care, maternal control, child anxiety, and child depression were examined with maternal stress, child age, child gender, and child ethnicity as moderators. In summary, child age emerged as a nonspecific predictor of child anxiety (B=-.218, t(187)= -3.054, p=.003) and a significant moderator of the relationship between child anxiety and maternal care (ΔR2 = .045, F(3, 185) = 6.627, p <.001); less maternal care was associated with higher anxiety for younger children. Additionally, child gender trended significance as a nonspecific predictor of child anxiety (B=.140, t(187)= 1.930, p=.054) and of child depression (B=.140, t(187)= 1.940, p=.054), with females exhibiting higher anxiety and depression than males. This research may inform future evidence-based assessments and treatments through identification of potential pathways to child psychopathology.



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Committee Chair

Davis, Thompson



Included in

Psychology Commons