ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 3, Issue 1, 17-29, 2012
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Girls' and mothers' spider fear, maternal control and autonomy granting behavior, and the role of threat intensity during a spider exposure task

Dr. Corine Odine van der Bruggen (a) & Prof. Dr. Susan Maria Bogels (b)
(a) Clincial Psychological Science, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands (Research carried out in this institution)
(b) Research Institute Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Volume 3, Issue 1, 2012, Pages 17-29

This experimental study examined (I) whether mothers' controlling and autonomy granting behaviors are related to daughters' approach behavior, and (II) whether mothers' perception of daughters' and/or own fear are related to mothers' controlling and autonomy granting behaviors.

Fifty girls with high levels of spider fear, aged 8-12 years, conducted a spider exposure task in the presence of their mother. The threat intensity of the task was manipulated using either a larger or a smaller spider, to examine (III) whether the relations are moderated by the degree of threat intensity during the mother-daughter interaction. Unexpectedly, results indicated that neither maternal control nor autonomy granting influenced their daughters' approach behaviour. Mothers responded with less autonomy granting, but not more control, in response to their own fear. Interestingly, this relation was only found in the high threat condition. Unexpectedly, no influence of daughters' fear on mothers' behaviors was found. Future research on the underlying processes in parent-child interactions with respect to the fear intensity of situations is needed.

Table of Contents
  Experiment measures.
 Manipulation check
 Relations between questionnaire measures and experiment state measures

Correspondence to
Corine O. van der Bruggen, UvA-Virenze, Plantage Muidergracht 14, 1018 TV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

anxiety, experiment, exposure, maternal autonomy granting, maternal control

Received 20 Jul 2010; Revised 1 Apr 2011; Accepted 20 May 2011; In Press 11 Oct 2011

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