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Parents of anxious children are thought to be more attuned to threat, which might translate into less positive bias in parental report of child coping and ability, unlike parents of non-anxious children. Maternal expectancy bias was examined in a sample of 43 clinically anxious (51 % female), 30 clinically anxious/depressed (50 % female), and 44 non-clinical control children (46 % female), 8-14 years of age. When compared to an objective observer's ratings of the children, mothers of non-clinical children demonstrated a positive bias (i.e., over-rated their children's performance) for both ratings of expected speech performance in absolute terms and relative to peers. Mothers in the clinical groups did not exhibit this positive expectancy bias. Moreover, mothers of clinical children reported lower expectations in absolute terms and relative to peers than mothers of non-clinical children. The data suggest that mothers of clinical children held accurate expectations for child performance when compared to the gold standard of an objective observer.
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