WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Parental social anxiety should be considered a risk factor for childhood anxiety, according to researchers.
In a new study, researchers from Johns Hopkins Children's Center found that kids with parents who have social anxiety disorder -- the most common form of anxiety -- are at greater risk for developing an anxiety disorder than kids whose parents have other forms of anxiety.
The study revealed that the parental behaviors that contributed to children's anxiety included a lack of warmth and affection as well as high levels of criticism and doubt.
"There is a broad range of anxiety disorders, so what we did was home in on social anxiety, and we found that anxiety-promoting parental behaviors may be unique to the parent's diagnosis and not necessarily common to all those with anxiety," the study's senior investigator, Golda Ginsburg, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
In conducting the study, Ginsburg's team examined the interactions between 66 anxious parents and their children, whose ages ranged from 7 to 12 years. Of the parents, 21 had social anxiety; the rest were diagnosed with another form of anxiety, such as panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Each parent-child team was videotaped while working together to write speeches about themselves and also to copy designs on an Etch-a-Sketch. They were given five minutes to complete each task. On a scale of one to five, the researchers rated the affection and criticism the parents showed their children.
The study authors found that parents with social anxiety were less warm and affectionate toward their children. These parents also criticized their children more, and tended to doubt their child's ability to complete each task.
Ginsburg, who also is a child anxiety expert at Johns Hopkins Children
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