Category: Parenting / Families
Parents often experience anxiety due to cognitions regarding their performance as a parent, such as the care they provide for their children (Cheron et al., 2009). Parental anxiety has been associated with an increased risk for the development of anxiety in children (Hettema et al., 2001), as well as higher levels of overreactive discipline (e.g., Laskey & Cartwright-Hatton, 2009). Overractive discipline predicts greater levels of externalizing problems in young children (e.g., O’Leary et al., 1999), as well as internalizing symptoms as a child grows older (Bender et al., 2007; Robinson & Cartwright-Hatton, 2008). Although it is well understood that parental emotions play a strong role in discipline (Dix, 1991), there are no existing measures that specifically assess parenting-related anxiety. Such a measure would help researchers better understand the relations between parenting-related anxiety and outcomes such as parent emotion regulation, dysfunctional discipline, as well as child externalizing and internalizing symptomatology.
This study examined the psychometrics properties of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Parent (PSWQ-P), an adaptation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ; Meyer, Miller, Metzger, & Borkovec, 1990). The items from the PSWQ were modified to assess parents’ perceptions of their success in parenting (e.g., “I never worry about anything,” was adapted to “I never worry about the way that I parent my child”).
Parents (N = 136) of children between the ages of 2 and 5 completed the PSWQ-P and additional measures of anxiety (Anxiety Trait scale of the State Trait Anxiety Inventory, STAI A-Trait; Speilberger et al., 1983), parental anger (Parent Anger Scale, PAS; Del Vecchio et al., 2015), dysfunctional discipline (Parenting Scale; Arnold et al., 1993), as well as child externalizing and internalizing (Child Behavior Checklist 11⁄2–5; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2000).
Confirmatory factor analyses revealed a Comparative Fix Index of .95 and a Tucker Lewis Index of .98, indicating a strong goodness of fit for a single factor model. Cronbach’s alpha (α = .93) revealed high internal consistency reliability for the PSWQ-P total score. Convergent validity estimates showed a significant association between the PSWQ-P and the STAI A-Trait (r = .55, p < .001). The PSWQ-P was not significantly related to the PAS (r = .15, p = .20), evidencing divergent validity. Regression analyses also revealed that the PSWQ-P significantly predicted lax discipline (r = .31, p < .01), as well as child externalizing (r = .19, p < .05) and internalizing (r = .29, p < .01), thus evidencing strong predictive validity. However, the PSWQ-P was not significantly associated with overreactive discipline.