Trajectories of anxiety in a population sample of children: clarifying the role of children's behavioral characteristics and maternal parenting.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Dev Psychopathol, Volume 22, Issue 2, p.361-73 (2010)


Aggression, Anxiety, Attention, Child, Child Behavior, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Logistic Models, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Maternal Behavior, Mother-Child Relations, Parenting, Psychomotor Agitation, Quebec, Risk Factors, Sampling Studies, Severity of Illness Index, Social Behavior


<p>This study pursued three goals. The first goal was to explore children's trajectories of anxiety from age 6 to 12 using a representative community sample. The second goal was to assess the link between certain behavioral characteristics assessed in kindergarten (i.e., inattention, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, and low prosociality) and these trajectories. The third goal was to determine whether certain aspects of maternal parenting (i.e., warmth and discipline) could moderate the association between these characteristics and the trajectories of anxiety. A population sample of 2,000 children (1,001 boys, 999 girls) participated in this longitudinal study. Developmental trajectory analyses allowed us to identify four trajectory groups: low, low-increasing, high-declining, and high anxiety groups. Moreover, multinomial logistic regressions revealed a profile of children at risk of developing high anxiety symptoms (i.e., high group), characterized by sociofamily adversity, inattention, and low prosociality in the classroom. Hyperactivity was also found in this profile, but only for children exposed to a mother who showed little affective warmth. Finally, mothers' high level of discipline increased the odds of belonging to the high anxiety group. The results are discussed in relation to studies examining the association among anxiety, behavioral characteristics, and parenting during childhood.</p>

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