Personality Parallels: Parent Neuroticism Predicts Child Social Anxiety
Personality Parallels: Parent Neuroticism Predicts Child Social Anxiety (212.9Kb)
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Social anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders amongst children and adolescents. There are many external factors associated with social anxiety including negative life events, impaired interactions with other individuals, and maladaptive lifestyle changes. In particular, during adolescence, the consequences of social anxiety can include unsatisfactory relationships with peers and changes in academic responsibility. Previous studies support maternal personality to be associated with the development of mental health disorders in their children. The mother’s personality influences the mother’s interaction with the child and creates the environment in which development occurs. The current study focuses on the influence of parent personality, specifically, neuroticism, on the prevalence of social anxiety in their children. Parents high in neuroticism tend to not be as present in providing support to their children. As well their inability to control emotions leads to unpredictable behavior. In the current study, 243 participants were recruited. Participants were given questionnaires to complete including the NEO-FFI parent report (maternal personality) at 4 years and the SCARED child report (child social anxiety) at 12 and 15 years. An independent samples t-test was performed to look at gender differences in terms of anxiety and parent neuroticism. Results revealed that females reported higher anxiety than males; however, gender was not significant to be a mediator between social anxiety and neuroticism. Neuroticism reported by the mother at 4 years was shown to predict total anxiety on the SCARED when the child was both 12 [F(1, 168)=4.868, p=.029] and 15 years old [F(1, 149)=8.05, p=.005]. This suggests maternal personality is a stable predictor of later childhood anxiety.