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To investigate sources of influences connecting mothers' and their children's anxious cognitions, 65 children (aged 10 to 11 years) completed self-report measures of anxiety. Children and mothers responded to an ambiguous scenario questionnaire and measures of parenting style and life events. Mothers also reported expectations about their child's reaction to ambiguous situations. Mothers' and children's threat cognitions were significantly correlated (r = .31), and partially mediated by mothers' expectations about their child. Mothers' anticipated distress was associated with expectations for their child's distress, which was associated with the child's own anticipated distress. Parenting and life events were significantly associated with children's interpretative bias, but did not mediate the intergenerational association in interpretative bias. The results suggest influences on children's 'anxious cognitive style' and potential targets for preventing and reducing maladaptive cognitions in children. © 2006 The British Psychological Society.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Developmental Psychology

Publication Date





761 - 766