Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety
Child anxiety and anxiety sensitivity (AS) are consistently highly correlated variables, with this relationship remaining significant even after accounting for cognitive risk factors of negative affectivity and behavioral inhibition (Francis et al., 2016). However, associations between child AS and parental anxiety and AS have been neither large nor statistically significant (e.g., Francis et al., 2016; Hale & Calamari, 1999; Silverman & Weems, 1999). In addition, associations between child AS and parental risk factors for child anxiety, such as parental beliefs about anxiety and parental overcontrol, remain largely unexamined.
The measure most widely used to assess child AS has been the Childhood Anxiety Sensitivity Index (CASI; Silverman, Fleisig, Rabian, & Peterson, 1991). However, in response to concerns that this measure did not provide a comprehensive assessment of the facets of AS, Muris (2002) developed the Revised Childhood Anxiety Sensitivity Index (CASI-R). Of interest in the present investigation, employing the CASI-R as the measure of child AS, were the following: (1) is child AS strongly and positively correlated with child anxiety, (2) is child AS positively correlated with parent anxiety, and (3) is child AS positively correlated with other parent-reported risk factors for child anxiety, such as parental AS, parental beliefs about anxiety, and parental overprotection?
Participants in the present study, a larger ongoing examination of risk and resiliency factors associated with child anxiety, include 26 parent-child dyads (data collection is ongoing). Children aged 8 to 13 (M = 9.96, SD = 1.56) completed measures of anxiety (RCADS) and anxiety sensitivity (CASI-R); parent participants completed online questionnaires for anxiety (DASS-21), AS (ASI-3), parental beliefs about anxiety (PBA-Q), and parental overprotection (PABUA).
Neither the CASI-R total nor scale scores were strongly correlated with child anxiety (total r = .29; respiratory symptoms, r = .34; publicly observable symptoms r = .31; cognitive dyscontrol r = .27; and cardiovascular symptoms, r = .23). Correlations between parent anxiety and all CASI-R scales were of small magnitude (r = .11 to r = .28). Correlations between parental beliefs about anxiety and parental overprotection and the CASI-R were also small. Interestingly, however, and in contrast to previous findings examining parent-child AS correlations using the CASI and ASI, parents’ own reports of AS on the ASI-3 total were positively correlated with child CASI-R total scores (r = .33); ASI-3 total scores were also positively correlated with CASI-R publicly observable symptoms (r = .55) and cognitive dyscontrol (r = .38). Moreover, the ASI-3 physical concerns scale was correlated with the CASI-R cardiovascular symptoms scale (r = .27); the ASI-3 cognitive concerns was correlated with the CASI-R cognitive dyscontrol scale (r = .22), and the ASI-3 social concerns scale was correlated with the CASI-R publicly observable symptoms scale (r = .51). These preliminary results suggest that CASI-R child AS might not correlate as strongly with child anxiety as CASI child AS, but that CASI-R subscales might have value for examining the relationship between facets of parent and child AS.