Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Is Children’s Anxiety Impacted by the Influence of Socioeconomic Status on Parental Overprotection?

Event Title

ABCT (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies) 2020 54th Annual Convention

Event Location


Document Type


Presentation Date


Date Range

2020-11-17 to 2020-11-22


Childhood anxiety is often developmentally inappropriate and leads to an impairment of functioning in social and academic domains (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Additionally, anxiety disorders in childhood lead to a pervasive and persistent course of illness (Suárez, Polo, Chen, & Alegria, 2009). Research has found that anxiety disorders and symptoms are more prevalent in ethnic minorities. Latinx children exhibit greater internalizing symptoms, including panic, separation, and harm avoidance symptoms, compared to White peers (Martinez, Polo, & Carter, 2012); however, there is a lack of understanding about what contributes to the increased risk of anxiety in Latinx populations.

A possible explanation is the influence of parental behaviors on the manifestation of anxiety symptoms in youth, including overprotection (McLeod, Wood, & Weisz, 2007; Periera et al., 2014; Young et al., 2013). Parental control includes the use of extreme regulation of children’s routines, encouragement of dependency, and delineating how a child should think and feel (McLeod, Wood, & Weisz, 2007). These behaviors may lead to children experiencing increased anxiety, behavioral avoidance, and dependency (Young et al., 2013; Luis, Varela, & Moore, 2008; Drake & Ginsburg, 2012). However, there is limited research examining Latinx’s levels of parental overprotection. Research suggests that socioeconomic status may greatly affect the types of parental behaviors and children’s mental health. Lower SES has been shown to have an effect on children’s mental health, with research indicating that parents who live in low-income neighborhoods utilize strict parenting practices (Bøe et al., 2018; Azad, Blacher, & Marcoulides, 2014). Yet, SES has not been considered as a potential moderating mechanism in Latinx populations.

The present study intends to build upon and add to the limited research regarding the relationship between childhood anxiety, parental overprotection, and socioeconomic status in Latinx populations based on parental reports. Parents of students in two middle schools from a southeastern city filled out questionnaires about family demographics, parental practices, parental and immigration stress, and child anxiety symptoms. Differences in parental overprotection and child anxiety will be examined using an analysis of variance test (ANOVA), where the high SES group, consisting of 34 participants from a private school, and the low SES group, consisting of 22 participants from a public school will be compared. A multiple linear regression will also be used to examine the moderating effects of SES on parental overprotection as it predicts child anxiety. It is hypothesized SES will moderate the relationship between parental overprotection and child anxiety symptoms.