Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 427–437 | Cite as

Attentional Control and Threat-Related Attention Bias Partially Explain the Association Between Maternal Psychological Control and Youth Anxiety Severity

  • Deepika BoseEmail author
  • Daniella Vaclavik
  • Victor Buitron
  • Yasmin Rey
  • Wendy K. Silverman
  • Jeremy W. Pettit
Original Article


Etiological models of youth anxiety disorders have generally treated maternal psychological control (PC) and youth attentional processes as separate lines of inquiry. As a consequence, little is known about the interplay of PC and youth attentional processes as it relates to youth anxiety. The current study bridges these two lines of inquiry, and evaluates a conceptual model wherein youth threat-related attention bias and youth attentional control account for the relation between maternal PC and youth anxiety. Participants were 202 clinic-referred youths (M = 10.09 years; 54% male) and their mothers. The indirect association between maternal PC and youth anxiety via youth attentional control was statistically significant using youth ratings. The indirect association between maternal PC and youth anxiety via youth threat-related attention bias was statistically significant using mother ratings. Findings from this study advance etiological models of youth anxiety, provide insight into threat-related attention bias and attentional control as potential mediators of the association between high maternal PC and youth anxiety, and suggest that targeting attentional processes could offer an additional treatment option for anxious youths whose parents are high in PC.


Anxiety Youth Mothers Attention bias Attentional control Psychological control 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Deepika Bose, Daniella Vaclavik, Victor Buitron, Yasmin Rey, Wendy K. Silverman, and Jeremy W. Pettit declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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