Examining the directionality of the relationship between maternal warmth and early school-age anxiety.
Anderson, S. L., Goulter, N., & McMahon, R. J. (2021). Examining the directionality of the relationship between maternal warmth and early school-age anxiety. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-021-01197-4
Abstract: Maternal warmth has been identified as a contributing factor to the development of child anxiety; however, no studies to date have examined observed maternal warmth longitudinally in this relationship. The present study addressed this knowledge gap by examining the simultaneous development of maternal warmth and child anxiety over time (between-person effects using latent growth curve modeling) and the directionality of associations (within-person effects using autoregressive latent trajectory modeling). Participants included 753 mothers and children. Between-person effects indicated that lower initial levels of anxiety were related to greater levels of maternal warmth over time. Within-person effects showed that maternal warmth in grade 1 predicted subsequent decreases in child anxiety in grade 2 (i.e., a parent effect). Present findings demonstrate the importance of maternal warmth in the early school-age years for decreasing subsequent child anxiety.