Associations between Perceived Parental Overprotection, Experiential Avoidance, and Anxiety

Journal Article

There has recently been increased attention focused on understanding the mechanisms through which parenting practices relate to anxiety in adulthood. Theoretical and empirical literature suggests that emotion regulation difficulties, particularly the use of avoidant regulation strategies, may be one such mechanism. Thus, this cross-sectional study investigated the mediating role of experiential avoidance in the relation between perceived parental overprotection and anxiety in young adulthood. A sample of 382 undergraduates completed questionnaires assessing the constructs of interest. Results indicate that perceived parental overprotection was significantly uniquely associated with anxiety symptom severity. Furthermore, results provide support for a model in which experiential avoidance mediates the association between perceived parental overprotection and anxiety. Findings of the present study highlight one potential mechanism underlying the association between early caregiving experiences and anxiety in young adulthood, suggesting that efforts to avoid internal experiences may play a role in the pathogenesis of anxiety. Findings are interpreted and discussed in the context of study limitations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fulton, JJ; Kiel, EJ; Tull, MT; Gratz, KL

Published Date

  • June 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 200 - 211

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2043-8087

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2043-8087

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.5127/jep.034813


  • en