DOI: 10.1177/01650254231212389 ISSN: 0165-0254

Interactive associations of maternal and paternal parenting and adolescents’ anxiety

Braima Salaam
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Education

This study investigated the interactive effects of maternal and paternal warmth as well as behavioral control on adolescents’ anxiety in Ghana and whether these linkages varied between adolescents in rural and urban contexts. Participants were 211 junior high school students (61% girls; 39% boys; Mage = 13.43; SDage = 2.03) who completed measures of parenting behaviors and experiences of anxiety. Results revealed significant two-way interaction effects such that higher levels of maternal warmth in conjunction with lower levels of paternal warmth were associated with higher levels of adolescents’ anxiety. In addition, higher levels of paternal (but not maternal) warmth predicted lower anxiety in urban families, but not rural families. Moreover, higher maternal behavioral control combined with higher paternal behavioral control predicted lower anxiety, although this association was only observed for a small subset of the sample. Findings highlight the complementary roles of both mothers and fathers in influencing adolescents’ anxiety and the importance of family context in shaping parenting influence. Interventions targeting positive parenting behaviors should focus on both mothers and fathers.

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