Maternal accuracy and behavior in anticipating children's responses to novelty: Relations to fearful temperament and implications for anxiety development

Elizabeth J. Kiel, Kristin Buss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Previous research has suggested that mothers' behaviors may serve as a mechanism in the development from toddler fearful temperament to childhood anxiety. The current study examined the maternal characteristic of accuracy in predicting toddlers' distress reactions to novelty in relation to temperament, parenting, and anxiety development. Ninety-three two-year-old toddlers and their mothers participated in the study. Maternal accuracy moderated the relation between fearful temperament and protective behavior, suggesting this bidirectional link may be more likely to occur when mothers are particularly attuned to their children's fear responses. An exploratory moderated mediation analysis supported the mechanistic role of protective parenting in the relation between early fearful temperament and later anxiety. Mediation only occurred, however, when mothers displayed high accuracy. Results are discussed within the broader literature of parental influence on fearful children's development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-325
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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