Does Parental Overprotection Moderate the Relationship between Child Behavioral Inhibition and Child Anxiety Symptoms?
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Behavioral inhibition in young children is a well-known and established scientific construct. It's relation to the development of anxiety disorders has been studied frequently. Less researched are specific environmental factors possibly influencing this relationship. One of these factors is parental overprotection, which is associated with child anxiety psychopathology. Because aiding parents in improving their childrearing-practices is accessible, the possible moderating influence of parental overprotection on this relationship was researched. In addition, the relationship between child behavioral inhibition and child anxiety symptoms was researched to bolster the robustness of this association. Data originated from a longitudinal study on child behavioral inhibition. Questionnaires assessing child behavioral inhibition, child anxiety symptoms and parental overprotection were administered when children were respectively 3, 4 and 5 years of age on average. A multiple hierarchical regression analysis showed that child behavioral inhibition predicted child anxiety symptoms. Parental overprotection did not moderate this relationship. Concluding, this study indicates that parental overprotection exerts no significant influence on the development of anxiety symptoms in behaviorally inhibited children, while providing further support for the relationship between child behavioral inhibition and anxiety symptoms. The outcomes are regarded in light of this study's characteristics and the context of other studies regarding the relationship between child behavioral inhibition, parental overprotection and child anxiety symptoms. The theoretical and clinical implications of the results are evaluated, while other possible influences on this relationship are reviewed and recommendations for future research are given.