Studies have linked childhood anxiety and depression with parenting characterized by high control and low warmth. However, few studies have examined how control and warmth may work together to influence internalizing symptoms in children. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine the moderating effect of warmth on the relationship between overcontrol and anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as whether negative thoughts serve as a mediator of these pathways. A total of 182 fourth and fifth grade children completed measures of maternal parenting behavior, negative thoughts, and anxiety and depressive symptoms. Results showed an interaction between overcontrol and warmth for depressive but not anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, low warmth increased the strength of the mediating relationship between overcontrol and depression via thoughts of personal failure. Findings may signal a need for early interventions to address parenting behaviors, such as controlling behaviors, in parents of children at risk for internalizing difficulties.
- Negative thoughts