Maternal and paternal influences on childhood anxiety symptoms: A genetically sensitive comparison

Andy P. Field, Kathryn J. Lester, Sam Cartwright-Hatton, Gordon T. Harold, Daniel S. Shaw, Misaki N. Natsuaki, Jody M. Ganiban, David Reiss, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Leslie D. Leve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study tested the theory that anxious fathers pose a quantitatively different environmental influence on childhood anxiety than anxious mothers. The analysed sample contained 502 linked adoption units from the Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS), a longitudinal multisite study that follows 561 adopted children (57.2% boys) and their adoptive and birth parents, who were recruited through US adoption agencies. A Bayesian latent growth model predicted child anxiety symptoms between 18 months and 4.5 years from inherited (birth parent anxiety) and rearing parent anxiety. This model revealed little evidence for a difference in the influence of maternal and paternal rearing parent anxiety on child anxiety symptoms. Contrary to theoretical predictions, anxiety in the rearing father is likely to have an equivalent influence to that of the mother on both child anxiety symptoms at 18 months old and their developmental trajectory over the preschool years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101123
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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