University of Tasmania
whole_Yau-EvansPhoebeSukWah2001_thesis.pdf (3.62 MB)

Anxiety in middle childhood

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posted on 2023-05-27, 15:28 authored by Yau-Evans, Phoebe (Suk Wah)
The aim of this review is to explore the potential contribution of parents, peers and friends to children's development and to the mediation of children's anxiety in Western and Chinese cultures during middle childhood. This review includes gender differences in anxiety and in the differential impact of these relationships. Firstly, evidence for anxiety that children may experience is covered; followed by the impact of parent-child attachment, family interaction, peer relationships and friendships on anxiety. Gender and cultural differences are integrated into each section. In addition, directions for future research are discussed. Childhood anxiety is common and it may develop into a chronic problem if intervention is not available. The sources and severity of anxiety vary between Western and non-Western children and between the sexes. Due to some cultural factors such as academic achievement and parenting style, Chinese children suffer more anxiety than their Western counterparts. Research has found that girls are more likely' to report anxiety than are boys. Indeed, the difference between boys' and girls' perspectives on admitting anxiety plays a role in this phenomenon. The quality of parental and social support networks appear to be a robust factor influencing children's development, psychological well being and adjustment. With close and supportive relationship with parents, particularly mother-child relationships, children may obtain the psychological strength to cope with many adverse situations and maladjustment. Parent-child relationships have been implicated in the establishment of certain forms of childhood maladjustment such as anxious behaviours, depression and social withdrawal. However, the quality of father-child and mother-child relationships influences boys and girls differently. Besides, Chinese children may rely on their parents' emotional supports less to alleviate their anxiety owing to the cultural factors such as the expectation of social maturity and common usage of authoritarian parenting. Similar to parenting, positive family processes may prevent children from developing maladaptive symptoms in adverse situations whereas negative family processes may increase children's avoidance responses. In Chinese societies, both economic hardship and parenting style based on traditional values reinforces negative social interactions between parents and with their children. As well as parent-child relationships also important for both Western and Chinese children are peer relationships and friendships. Middle childhood is a critical period when children develop these social relationships. Positive peer relationships and /or friendships contribute to children's development and also buffer children from the negative impacts of unfavorable conditions. Being rejected by peers or without friends cause problems and maladaptive behaviours. Based on Western research, the importance of friendship has been shown, however, it seems research on the quality and the impact of friendship among Chinese children is limited. Boys and girls may regard these social relationships differently. Boys may rely more on peer groups while girls may rely more on mutual friendships to provide emotional support. Children usually form their first relationship with their parents or significant others within the family. However, with age, the closeness and function of children's relationships change. Developing relationships with others outside the family is an essential process in child development. A considerable amount of research has been devoted to the impact of children's relationships with parents, peers and friends on their development. As children grow, they may place more reliance on other sources than parents to provide particular kinds of support.


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Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Psych.)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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