Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bridgett, David J.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Developmental psychology; Developmental psychology; Parenting; Mother and child; Anxiety


Previous work has demonstrated links between early fearful temperament and risk for the subsequent development of anxiety disorders; thus, factors that may influence the development of early fear are important to consider. Maternal anxiety has previously been linked to child anxiety, though limited work has examined potential relationships between maternal anxiety and infant fear. Anxious mothers have been observed to be more critical/rejecting and intrusive/overcontrolling in their interactions with their children, and these parenting behaviors have been related to greater risk for childhood anxiety. Again, the relations between these parenting behaviors and early expressions of temperament, particularly fear, are less frequently considered. The current study aimed to address these gaps in the literature by assessing direct and indirect relationships between maternal anxiety at 4 months postpartum, maternal use of critical/rejecting and intrusive/overcontrolling parenting behaviors at 6 months postpartum, and infant fear at 8 months postpartum. Results suggest that maternal anxiety is directly related to greater use of critical/rejecting parenting, but not intrusive/overcontrolling parenting behaviors. Neither intrusive/overcontrolling nor critical/rejecting parenting was significantly related to infant fearfulness at 8 months. Maternal anxiety was also unrelated to infant fear. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Advisors: David J. Bridgett.||Committee members: Laura Pittman; Kevin Wu.


104 pages




Northern Illinois University

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