Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 897–911 | Cite as

Positive and Negative Family Emotional Climate Differentially Predict Youth Anxiety and Depression via Distinct Affective Pathways

  • Aaron M. Luebbe
  • Debora J. Bell


A socioaffective specificity model was tested in which positive and negative affect differentially mediated relations of family emotional climate to youth internalizing symptoms. Participants were 134 7th-9th grade adolescents (65 girls; 86 % Caucasian) and mothers who completed measures of emotion-related family processes, experienced affect, anxiety, and depression. Results suggested that a family environment characterized by maternal psychological control and family negative emotion expressiveness predicted greater anxiety and depression, and was mediated by experienced negative affect. Conversely, a family emotional environment characterized by low maternal warmth and low positive emotion expressiveness predicted only depression, and was mediated through lowered experienced positive affect. This study synthesizes a theoretical model of typical family emotion socialization with an extant affect-based model of shared and unique aspects of anxiety and depression symptom expression.


Anxiety Depression Emotional climate Emotional expressiveness Warmth Psychological control Adolescent 



This research was supported by a University of Missouri Research Council Grant (URC-07-081). We thank Martha Early for assistance with project design and data collection as well as Elizabeth Kiel for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


  1. Anderson, E. A., & Hope, D. (2008). A review of the tripartite model for understanding the link between anxiety and depression in youth. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 275–287. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.05.004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angold, A., Costello, E. J., Messer, S. C., Pickles, A., Winder, F., & Silver, D. (1995). Development of a short questionnaire for use in epidemiological studies of depression in children and adolescents. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 5, 237–249.Google Scholar
  3. Barber, B. K. (1996). Parental psychological control: revisiting a neglected psychological construct. Child Development, 67, 3296–3319. doi: 10.2307/1131780.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrera, M., Jr., & Garrison-Jones, C. (1992). Family and peer social support as specific correlates of adolescent depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 20, 1–16. doi: 10.1007/BF00927113.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barrett, P. M., Rapee, R. M., Dadds, M. M., & Ryan, S. M. (1996). Family enhancement of cognitive style in anxious and aggressive children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 24, 187–203. doi: 10.1007/BF01441484.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bosquet, M., & Egeland, B. (2006). The development and maintenance of anxiety symptoms from infancy through adolescence in a longitudinal sample. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 517–550. doi: 10.1017/S0954579406060275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brady, E. U., & Kendall, P. C. (1992). Comorbidity of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 244–255. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.111.2.244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campos, J. J., Mumme, D. L., Kermoian, R., & Campos, R. G. (1994). A functionalist perspective on the nature of emotion. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59, 284–303. doi: 10.2307/1166150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chorpita, B. F., Plummer, C. M., & Moffitt, C. E. (2000). Relations of tripartite dimensions of emotion to childhood anxiety and mood disorders. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 299–310. doi: 10.1023/A:1005152505888.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1991). Tripartite model of anxiety and depression: psychometric evidence and taxonomic implications. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 316–336. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.100.3.316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cooley, E. L. (1992). Family expressiveness and proneness to depression among college women. Journal of Research in Personality, 26, 281–287. doi: 10.1016/0092-6566%2892%2990045-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Darling, N., & Steinberg, L. (1993). Parenting style as context: an integrative model. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 487–496. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.113.3.487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. David-Ferdon, C., & Kaslow, N. J. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for child and adolescent depression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31, 62–104. doi: 10.1080/15374410701817865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eisenberg, N., Cumberland, A., & Spinrad, T. (1998). Parental socialization of emotion. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 241–273. doi: 10.1207/s15327965pli0904_1.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Forbes, E. E., & Dahl, R. E. (2005). Neural systems of positive affect: relevance to understanding child and adolescent depression? Development and Psychopathology, 17, 827–850. doi: 10.1017/S095457940505039X.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ginsburg, G. S., Siqueland, L., Masia-Warner, C., & Hedtke, K. A. (2005). Anxiety disorders in children: family matters. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 11, 28–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gruner, K., Muris, P., & Merckelbach, H. (1999). The relationship between anxious rearing behaviors and anxiety disorders symptomatology in normal children. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 30, 27–35. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7916%2899%2900004-X.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gunnar, M. R., & Quevedo, K. (2007). The neurobiology of stress and development. In S. Fiske (Ed.). Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 145–174. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085605.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Halberstadt, A. G. (1986). Family socialization of emotional expression and nonverbal communication styles and skills. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 827–836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Halberstadt, A. G., & Eaton, K. L. (2003). A meta-analysis of family expressiveness and children’s emotion expressiveness and understanding. Marriage & Family Review, 34, 35–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Halberstadt, A. G., Crisp, V. W., & Eaton, K. L. (1999). Family expressiveness: A retrospective and new directions for research. In P. Philippot, R. S. Feldman, & E. J. Coats (Eds.), The social context of nonverbal behavior (pp. 109–155). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hammen, C., & Rudolph, K. (2003). Childhood depression. In E. J. Mash & R. A. Barkley (Eds.), Child Psychopathology (2nd ed., pp. 233–278). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hodges, K. (1990). Depression and anxiety in children: a comparison of self-report questionnaires to clinical interview. Psychological Assessment, 2, 376–381. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.2.4.376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hudson, J. L., & Rapee, R. M. (2001). Socially anxious children: an observational study of parent–child interaction. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 23, 19–41.Google Scholar
  25. Joiner, T. E., Jr., Catanzaro, S. J., & Laurent, J. (1996). Tripartite structure of positive and negative affect, depression, and anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric inpatients. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 401–409. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.105.3.401.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kendall, P. C., & Ollendick, T. H. (2004). Setting the research and practice agenda for anxiety in children and adolescence: a topic comes of age. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 11, 65–74. doi: 10.1016/S1077-7229%2804%2980008-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kim Park, I. J., Garber, J., Ciesla, J. A., & Ellis, B. J. (2008). Convergence among multiple methods of measuring the family environment: relation to depression in mothers and their children. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 123–134. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.22.1.123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Klimes-Dougan, B., & Zeman, J. (2007). Introduction to the special issue of social development: emotion socialization in childhood and adolescence. Social Development, 16, 203–209. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00380.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kline, R. B. (1998). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  30. Kovacs, M. (1992). Children’s Depression Inventory: Manual. N. Tonawanda: Multi-Health Systems Inc.Google Scholar
  31. Laurent, J., Catanzaro, S. J., Joiner, T. E., Jr., Rudolph, K. D., Potter, K. I., Lambert, S., et al. (1999). A measure of positive and negative affect for children: scale development and preliminary validation. Psychological Assessment, 11, 326–338. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.11.3.326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Laursen, B., Coy, K. C., & Collins, W. A. (1998). Reconsidering changes in parent–child conflict across adolescence: a meta-analysis. Child Development, 69, 817–832. doi: 10.2307/1132206.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lobovits, D. A., & Handal, P. J. (1985). Childhood depression: prevalence using DSM-III criteria and validity of parent and child depression scales. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 10, 45–54. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/10.1.45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Luebbe, A. M., Bell, D., Allwood, M., Swenson, L., & Early, M. (2010). Social information processing in children: specific relations to anxiety, depression, and affect. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39, 386–399. doi: 10.1080/15374411003691685.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. March, J. S., Parker, J. D. A., Sullivan, K., Stallings, P., & Conners, C. K. (1997). The multidimensional anxiety scale for children (MASC): factor structure, reliability, and validity. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 554–565.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. March, J. S., Sullivan, K., & Parker, J. (1999). Test-retest reliability of the multidimensional anxiety scale for children. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 13, 349–358. doi: 10.1016/S0887-6185%2899%2900009-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McLeod, B. D., Weisz, J. R., & Wood, J. J. (2007a). Examining the association between parenting and childhood depression: a meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 986–1003. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.03.001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McLeod, B. D., Wood, J. J., & Weisz, J. R. (2007b). Examining the association between parenting and childhood anxiety: a meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 155–172. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2006.09.002.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Moore, P. S., Whaley, S. E., & Sigman, M. (2004). Interactions between mothers and children: impacts of maternal and child anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 471–476. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.113.3.471.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Morris, A. S., Silk, J. S., Steinberg, L., Myers, S. S., & Robinson, J. R. (2007). The role of the family context in the development of emotion regulation. Social Development, 16, 362–388. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00389.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muthén, L.K. & Muthén, B.O. (1998-2007). Mplus User’s Guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  42. Nanda, M. M., Kotchick, B. A., & Grover, R. L. (2012). Parental psychological control and childhood anxiety: the mediating role of perceived lack of control. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 637–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pedersen, W. (1994). Parental relations, mental health, and delinquency in adolescents. Adolescence, 29, 975–990.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Repetti, R. L., Taylor, S. E., & Seeman, T. E. (2002). Risky families: family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 330–366. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.2.330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schaefer, E. S. (1965). Children’s reports of parental behavior: an inventory. Child Development, 36, 413–424. doi: 10.2307/1126465.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schludermann, E., & Schludermann, S. (1970). Replicability of factors in children’s report of parent behavior (CRPBI). Journal of Psychology, 79, 29–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schwartz, O. S., Dudgeon, P., Sheeber, L. B., Yap, M. B., Simmons, J. G., & Allen, N. B. (2012). Parental behaviors during family interactions predict changes in depression and anxiety symptoms during adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 59–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sheeber, L., & Sorensen, E. (1998). Family relationships of depressed adolescents: a multi-method assessment. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27, 268–277.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sheeber, L., Allen, N., Davis, B., & Sorensen, E. (2000). Regulation of negative affect during mother-child problem-solving interactions: adolescent depressive status and family processes. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 467–479. doi: 10.1023/A:1005135706799.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sheeber, L. B., Davis, B., Leve, C., Hops, H., & Tildesley, E. (2007). Adolescents’ relationships with their mothers and fathers: associations with depressive disorder and subdiagnostic symptomatology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 144–154. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.116.1.144.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Silk, J. S., Shaw, D. S., Forbes, E. E., Lane, T. J., & Kovacs, M. (2006). Maternal depression and child internalizing: the moderating role of child emotion regulation. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 116–126. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3501_10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Silk, J. S., Vanderbilt-Adriance, E., Shaw, D. S., Forbes, E. E., Whalen, D. J., Ryan, N. D., et al. (2007). Resilience among children and adolescents at risk for depression: mediation and moderation across social and neurobiological contexts. Development and Psychopathology, 19, 841–865. doi: 10.1017/S0954579407000417.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Silverman, W. K., Pina, A. A., & Viswesvaran, C. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for phobic and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37, 105–130. doi: 10.1080/15374410701817907.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Siqueland, L., Kendall, P. C., & Steinberg, L. (1996). Anxiety in children: perceived family environments and observed family interaction. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 25, 225–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Smucker, M. R., Craighead, W. E., Craighead, L. W., & Green, B. J. (1986). Normative ad reliability data for the Children’s Depression Inventory. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 14, 25–39. doi: 10.1007/BF00917219.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Soenens, B., Luyckx, K., Vansteenkiste, M., Duriez, B., & Gossens, L. (2008). Clarifying the link between parental psychological control and adolescents’ depressive symptoms: reciprocal versus unidirectional models. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 54, 411–444. doi: 10.1353/mpq.0.0005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Southam-Gerow, M. A., Flannery-Schroeder, E. C., & Kendall, P. C. (2003). A psychometric evaluation of the parent report form of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children--trait version. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 17, 427–446. doi: 10.1016/S0887-6185(02)00223-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Spielberger, C. D. (1973). Preliminary manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (“How I Feel Questionnaire”). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  59. Stocker, C. M., Richmond, M. K., Rhoades, G. K., & Kiang, L. (2007). Family emotional processes and adolescents’ adjustment. Social Development, 16, 310–325. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00386.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Suveg, C., & Zeman, J. (2004). Emotion regulation in children with anxiety disorders. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 33, 750–759. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3304_10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Suveg, C., Zeman, J., Flannery-Schroeder, E., & Cassano, M. (2005). Emotion socialization in families of children with an anxiety disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 145–155. doi: 10.1007/s10802-005-1823-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Verhulst, F. (2001). Community and epidemiological aspects of anxiety disorders in children. In W. K. Silverman & P. D. A. Treffers (Eds.), Anxiety disorders in children and adolescents (pp. 273–292). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Yap, M., Allen, N. B., & Sheeber, L. (2007). Using an emotion regulation framework to understand the role of temperament and family processes in risk for adolescent depressive disorders. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 10, 180–196. doi: 10.1007/s10567-006-0014-0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Yap, M. B., Schwartz, O. S., Byrne, M. L., Simmons, J. G., & Allen, N. B. (2010). Maternal positive and negative interaction behaviors and early adolescents’ depressive symptoms: adolescent emotion regulation as a mediator. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 1014–1043. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00665.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zeman, J., & Shipman, K. (1996). Children’s expressions of negative affect: reasons and methods. Developmental Psychology, 32, 842–849. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.32.5.842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of Missouri – ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations