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Title: Perceptions of control of the personal domain and adolescent anxiety
Author: Roper, Lynne M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3534 9534
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2007
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Background Cognitive models propose that perceptions of diminished control are associated with the experience of anxiety (e.g., Chorpita & Barlow, 1998). Furthennore, parental over-control has been linked to anxiety in children and adolescents (e.g., Rapee, 1997). Emerging evidence suggests it is control over personal issues, rather than other areas, that is associated with intemalising symptoms in adolescents (Hasebe, Nucci, & Nucci, 2004). Design Using a non-experimental cross-sectional design, the present study examined the extent to which adolescent anxiety was associated with perceptions of control across three domains. The personal domain comprised private matters deemed outside legitimate parental control, the prudential/conventional domain included issues of health, safety and social regulation, while the overlapping domain covered issues that extend across the two. Method A community sample of 125 parent and adolescent dyads each completed questionnaires assessing anxiety symptoms and perceptions of parental control. Adolescents were aged 11-16 years (M 13.4 years). The parent respondents were 110 mothers and 15 fathers. Adolescent and parent self-reported anxiety symptoms were measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1983). Perceptions of control were assessed using the Parental Authority Index (Hasebe et al.,2004). Results Contrary to predictions, adolescent perceptions of parental control over personal issues were not associated with adolescent anxiety symptoms. However, adolescent perceptions oflow parental control over prudential/conventional matters were significantly associated with higher levels of adolescent anxiety. Adolescent age influenced the relationships between perceptions of control and adolescent anxiety. Adolescent and parent anxiety were significantly related, but adolescent perceptions of parental control did not mediate or moderate the relationship between parent and adolescent anxiety. Conclusions This study found adolescent perceptions of low parental control over matters of health, safety, and social convention were significantly associated with higher levels of adolescent anxiety. The direction of effect is in contrast to research using unitary measures of control, suggesting global measures may mask the complexity of the relationship between parental control and adolescent anxiety. These findings have important clinical and theoretical implications and support the utility of taking a multidimensional and developmental approach to the role of parental control in adolescent anxiety.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available