Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Attachment and anxiety

Attachment theory proposes that particular types of insecure parental care giving are reflected in dysfunctional behaviour and personality disorders such as avoidant, dependent, self-defeating and borderline. The Parental Bonding Inventory, developed in 1979, is a psychological test that aims to measure the attachment between parents and their children in terms of the two variables of caring and overprotection. Studies using this test have found that high parental care predicts lower levels of depression while overprotection leads to higher levels of anxiety. Two Greek studies looked into the effects of caring and overprotection on school performance. In the first study 230 elementary-school children were assessed on motivation, stress and mood before an important test. The results showed that paternal caring scores, and to a lesser extent maternal caring scores, were associated with lower levels of fear of failure, anxiety and depression. In the second study 58 college students were physically monitored during a class presentation to assess their anxiety levels. Those students who reported high levels of parental caring had lower levels of stress. Those who reported an overprotective parenting style, however, approached the task with significantly elevated fears, experienced more stress during the task and performed worse. Students' perceptions of their fathers' parenting style was highly predicitive of the stress response.

Sideridis, Georgios D. and Kafetsios, Konstantinos - Perceived parental bonding, fear of failure and stress during class presentations International Journal of Behavioral Development 2008, 32(2), 119-130

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