Childhood Anxiety: Prenatal Maternal Stress and Parenting in the QF2011 Cohort

Mia A. McLean, Vanessa E. Cobham, Gabrielle Simcock, Belinda Lequertier, Sue Kildea, Suzanne King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we examine whether specific ‘anxiety-maintaining’ parenting behaviors (i.e., overinvolvement and/or negativity) exacerbate the effects of disaster-related prenatal maternal stress (PNMS) on school-age anxiety symptoms. Women (N = 230), pregnant at the time of the 2011 Queensland Floods, reported on their experience of flood-related PNMS (objective hardship, cognitive appraisal, subjective distress). At 4-years, mother–child dyads were coded for maternal overinvolvement and negativity during a challenging task; at 6-years mothers reported on their children’s anxiety symptoms and their own mood, N = 83. Results showed no associations between PNMS and 6-year anxiety, nor did parenting moderate these effects. Poorer maternal concurrent mood was associated with greater anxiety symptoms at 6 years (β = 0.52). Findings suggest maternal concurrent mood, but not exposure to disaster-related PNMS nor ‘anxiety-maintaining’ parenting behaviors at preschool age, is related to school-age anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389–398
Number of pages10
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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