Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2019 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Parenting styles, temperament, and anxiety in children: preliminary findings in the Indian population.

BR S, Raman V.

Abstract

Background: Anxiety disorders are the most frequent mental disorders in children, and contribute to development of secondary complications such as later risks of anxiety disorders, major depression, substance dependence, suicidal behaviour, and other adverse developmental outcomes. Childhood anxiety has been associated with various environmental factors including parenting styles. Temperament influences the way children interact with their parents, and how parents respond to them. Materials and methods: The present pilot study was designed to examine the association between parenting styles, temperament, and child’s anxiety. A total of 12 children, six in Clinical Group (CG) and six in Healthy Control Group (HG) were recruited. CG consisted of children who met the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders. HG consisted of healthy children matched on age and gender. Results: Anxiety in children was positively associated with father’s authoritarian and permissive parenting style, and negatively associated with mother’s authoritative parenting style. Anxiety in children was also negatively associated with temperament dimensions sociability and emotionality, and positively associated with distractibility. There were also significant associations between temperament dimensions and parenting styles, specifically permissive parenting style was negatively associated with sociability and emotionality. Conclusions: The effect of parenting styles in Indian context did not differ from those of West as the study finds both authoritarian and permissive parenting style to be associated with child anxiety. Temperament dimensions were also associated with parenting style and child outcome. This study emphasises the importance of examining dyadic parent-child relationships, and demonstrates that father’s parenting style also has a significant effect on the child, and having authoritative mother may be a protective factor against anxiety.

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