The Relationship Between Parenting Style and Childhood Anxiety in an Ethnically Diverse South African Sample
Benoit, Kristy Elizabeth
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The role of parenting variables in the etiology of child anxiety has received significant attention in recent years. Parental control, in particular, has emerged as a significant predictor of child anxiety. Parental rejection and one of its components, parental warmth, have also been linked to child anxiety. It has been suggested that the interaction of these two variables may be especially important, such that the combination of high parental control and high parental rejection of low parental warmth will result in particularly elevated risk for anxiety. Furthermore, some researchers propose that ethnicity should be investigated as a moderator of the relationship between parenting style and child anxiety. This is further supported by research that suggests that parenting styles are culturally-bound and that, within an authoritarian culture, authoritarian parenting may have only minor negative effects or perhaps even positive effects. Authoritarian parenting has been associated more so with black than white ethnicities. The present study examined whether parental warmth and/or parental rejection moderates the relationship between parental control and child anxiety in an ethnically diverse sample of black, white, and mixed-race children in South Africa. It was predicted that high parental control when paired with either low parental warmth or high parental rejection would be associated with varying degrees of anxiety in ethnically diverse children. In particular, under such conditions, it was predicted that black children would report the lowest levels of anxiety, mixed-race children would report intermediate levels of anxiety, and white children would report the highest levels of anxiety.
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