Recalled challenging parenting behavior and anxiety in adulthood

an exploratory retrospective cohort study

Rebecca S. Lazarus, Lauren F. McLellan, Jennifer L. Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This research examined the relationship between recalled challenging parenting behavior (CPB) and adult anxiety and aimed to determine the underlying latent factors involved in CPB. CPB is a novel parenting construct that involves the encouragement of children to go beyond their own limits and engage with concepts they may find scary or that destabilises them, in a playful and fun way. Participants in the current study were 386 undergraduate psychology students (M age = 19.89 years, SD = 4.6; range 17–56). Questionnaire measures of CPB, anxiety, and social anxiety were delivered to participants via an online survey. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted using Principle Axis Factoring with Oblimin rotation. This identified three latent constructs underlying adults recall of CPB during childhood; parental encouragement of social assertion (‘Social’), parental encouragement to engage in novel or new situations (‘Novelty’), and intentional teasing (‘Teasing’) CPB. Both mother and father Social and Novelty CPB was associated with lower report of adult anxiety. However, only fathers Teasing was able to predict adult anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-1227
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • anxiety
  • challenging parenting behavior
  • exploratory factor analysis

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