Background: Emotional neglect can be characterized as cold or critical parenting and denotes a parent intentionally or unintentionally overlooking the signs that a child needs comfort or attention and ignoring its emotional needs. Parental emotional neglect is widely posited as an antecedent of anxiety disorder, with attachment researchers arguing for anxious–ambivalent attachment style as a mediating factor. Method: Childhood experience of neglect and abuse, including antipathy (cold, critical parenting), attachment styles, and anxiety disorders were assessed in a high-risk sample of 160 adolescents and young adults by means of interview measures. Results: Antipathy was associated with 12-month prevalence of anxiety disorders in the sample. Anxious–ambivalent attachment scores statistically mediated the relationship between antipathy and anxiety disorders. Conclusions: Clinicians treating anxiety disorders in youths need to consider that emotional neglect in childhood in the form of antipathy could lead to anxious–ambivalent internal working models operating around fear of rejection and fear of separation.

Linking lack of care in childhood to anxiety disorders in emerging adulthood: the role of attachment styles

SCHIMMENTI, ADRIANO;
2015

Abstract

Background: Emotional neglect can be characterized as cold or critical parenting and denotes a parent intentionally or unintentionally overlooking the signs that a child needs comfort or attention and ignoring its emotional needs. Parental emotional neglect is widely posited as an antecedent of anxiety disorder, with attachment researchers arguing for anxious–ambivalent attachment style as a mediating factor. Method: Childhood experience of neglect and abuse, including antipathy (cold, critical parenting), attachment styles, and anxiety disorders were assessed in a high-risk sample of 160 adolescents and young adults by means of interview measures. Results: Antipathy was associated with 12-month prevalence of anxiety disorders in the sample. Anxious–ambivalent attachment scores statistically mediated the relationship between antipathy and anxiety disorders. Conclusions: Clinicians treating anxiety disorders in youths need to consider that emotional neglect in childhood in the form of antipathy could lead to anxious–ambivalent internal working models operating around fear of rejection and fear of separation.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11387/95728
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