ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 2, 200-211, 2014
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Associations between Perceived Parental Overprotection, Experiential Avoidance, and Anxiety

Jessica J. Fulton(a),(b),(c), Elizabeth J. Kiel(d), Matthew T. Tull(e) and Kim L. Gratz(e)
(a) VA Mid-Atlantic Region Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Durham, NC, USA
(b) VA Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
(c) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC USA
(d) Department of Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, OH USA
(e) Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS USA

Volume 5, Issue 2, 2014, Pages 200-211

There has recently been increased attention focused on understanding the mechanisms through which parenting practices relate to anxiety in adulthood. Theoretical and empirical literature suggests that emotion regulation difficulties, particularly the use of avoidant regulation strategies, may be one such mechanism. Thus, this cross-sectional study investigated the mediating role of experiential avoidance in the relation between perceived parental overprotection and anxiety in young adulthood. A sample of 382 undergraduates completed questionnaires assessing the constructs of interest. Results indicate that perceived parental overprotection was significantly uniquely associated with anxiety symptom severity. Furthermore, results provide support for a model in which experiential avoidance mediates the association between perceived parental overprotection and anxiety. Findings of the present study highlight one potential mechanism underlying the association between early caregiving experiences and anxiety in young adulthood, suggesting that efforts to avoid internal experiences may play a role in the pathogenesis of anxiety. Findings are interpreted and discussed in the context of study limitations.

Table of Contents
  Perceived parental overprotection.
  Experiential avoidance.
  Negative Affect.
 Preliminary Analyses
 Unique Associations between Overprotection, Experiential Avoidance, and Anxiety
 Mediating Role of Experiential Avoidance in the Association between Perceived Parental Overprotection and Anxiety Symptom Severity

Correspondence to
Jessica J. Fulton, Ph.D., Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27705, USA.

parenting; childhood experiences; anxiety; experiential avoidance; emotion regulation

Received 7 Feb 2013; Revised 14 Nov 2013; Accepted 15 Nov 2013; In Press 11 Jun 2014

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