Semester of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Etiological theories of child anxiety suggest an interaction of multiple factors that lead to the development and maintenance of child anxiety. Environmental influence, specifically that involving the family or parent, has been a target area of study for decades. Additionally, functional assessment of behavior indicates that certain behaviors may be maintained primarily by specific functions. Functional assessment has been successful at identifying functions of problematic behavior and planning treatment accordingly. However, in the realm of child internalizing disorders, research has not utilized functional assessment in this way. Acknowledging the impact of parental behavior on child anxiety as well as the need for both improved technology for identification of functions of anxiety symptomology and promising treatment strategies, this study expands the literature of functional assessment to child anxiety. 204 children were selected from an existing database of youth and their parents who presented to LSU’s Psychological Services Center. Parents have completed a measure on their own behavioral response to their child’s fearful behavior, and children have completed a measure on their own reported anxiety. Data was analyzed through one standard multiple regression and three bivariate linear regressions. It was hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship between parental behavior and child anxiety, a negative relationship between child age and parenting behavior, and a differential relationship between types of parental behavior. Results indicate that parental control alone positively predicted child anxiety.

Committee Chair

Davis, Thompson