A Preliminary Examination of the Link Between Maternal Experiential Avoidance and Parental Accommodation in Anxious and Non-anxious Children

Feinberg, L.; Kerns, C.; Pincus, D. B.; Comer, J. S.

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2018 Jan 21; 49(4):652-658


Studies point to parental experiential avoidance (EA) as a potential correlate of maladaptive parenting behaviors associated with child anxiety. However, research has not examined the relationship between EA and parental accommodation of child anxiety, nor the extent to which parental negative beliefs about child anxiety help explain such a relationship. In a sample of mothers (N = 45) of anxious and non-anxious children, the present study investigated the potential link between maternal EA and accommodation of child anxiety and whether this link may be indirectly accounted for via maternal negative beliefs about child anxiety. EA was significantly and positively associated with accommodation of child anxiety, but when negative beliefs about child anxiety were incorporated into the model this direct effect was no longer significant. Findings highlight the contribution of parental emotions and cognitions to behaviors that may exacerbate child anxiety, and may inform treatment and prevention efforts with families of anxious youth.

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