Challenging parenting behavior (CPB) encompasses parental encouragement of children to push their own limits and take safe risks. Increased CPB has been associated with reduced anxiety scores in young children. This study sought to develop and evaluate a measure of CPB relevant to emerging adults (CPBQ-EA), and examine the relationship between anxiety and parenting behaviors, including; CPB, overprotection, rejection, and warmth. A sample of 442 18–25 year-olds completed self-report measures of anxiety and parenting. Exploratory factor analysis revealed three CPB domains; social, novelty, and competition. Greater social CPB was associated with lower social anxiety scores in emerging adults, but only when exhibited by fathers. Greater rejection exhibited by both parents was associated with higher emerging adult general anxiety and stress scores. These findings highlight the connection between paternal CPB and offspring social anxiety symptoms, the salience of parental rejection in emerging adult anxiety, and the importance of including fathers in parenting studies.
- challenging parenting behavior
- anxiety disorders
- social anxiety
- emerging adulthood