The Role of Parental Overcontrol in the Relationship between Peer Victimization, Social Threat Cognitions, and Social Anxiety in School-Age Children

Jeremy K. Fox, Julie L. Ryan, Julia Martin Burch, Leslie F. Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Peer victimization has been associated with negative mental health outcomes in school-aged children, including social anxiety. It remains less clear how peer victimization influences children’s thinking about social situations and how parenting behavior may contribute to this relationship. The present study examined these questions in a sample of 178 fourth and fifth graders, who completed measures of peer victimization and maternal overcontrol at baseline and measures of social threat cognitions and social anxiety at baseline and one year later. Results indicated strong concurrent and longitudinal associations between peer victimization and social threat cognitions. Maternal overcontrol was found to moderate these relationships, such that peer victimization was associated with social threat cognitions at baseline and one year later only in students reporting high overcontrol. Social threat cognitions also mediated the relationship between peer victimization at baseline and social anxiety one year later, and this indirect effect was moderated by overcontrol. Findings may suggest that clinicians working with victimized students should identify and address negative perceptions of social situations and the role their parents may play in limiting their access to interactions with peers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalSchool Mental Health
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Bullying
  • Negative thoughts
  • Parental overcontrol
  • Parenting
  • Peer victimization
  • Social anxiety

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