The study introduces a path model that links between paternal feelings and child’s anxiety symptoms, aiming to test the mediational role of father–child insecure attachment and the child’s difficulties in emotional regulation in the occurrence of anxiety disorders among a sample of 148 fathers and their children (65 boys and 83 girls aged 8–18) attending the child psychiatric center of a public hospital. Participants completed a battery of diagnostical and research questionnaires, including the Parental Feelings Inventory (PFI), the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), the Screen for Child Anxiety–Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED), and the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale–Revised Child version (ECR-RC). Using structural equation modeling, we found father’s anger to be associated with father–child anxiety attachment, while the latter simultaneously mediated the link to the child’s anxiety both directly and indirectly (through emotion regulation [ER]). Consistent with previous evidence, we found insecure attachment and emotional regulation to be uniquely associated with the child’s anxiety. The current findings are among the first to demonstrate the interrelations between these variables in the context of father–child relations, suggesting that the child’s exposure to paternal anger might contribute to developing difficulties in ER and elevated anxiety due to a father–child insecure-anxious attachment relationship. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed in light of parental gender.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.
- emotional regulation
- paternal feelings