Intergenerational transmission of social anxiety: the role of social referencing processes in infancy
Murray, L., de Rosnay, M., Pearson, J., Bergeron, C., Schofield, E., Royal-Lawson, M. and Cooper, P. J. (2008) Intergenerational transmission of social anxiety: the role of social referencing processes in infancy. Child Development, 79 (4). pp. 1049-1064. ISSN 0009-3920
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01175.x
Responses to an unfamiliar adult were examined in infants of mothers with social phobia (N = 79) and infants of nonanxious comparison mothers (N = 77) at 10 and 14 months in a social referencing paradigm. On each occasion, a female stranger first interacted with the mother and then approached and interacted with the infant. Over time, infants of mothers with social phobia showed increasing avoidance of the stranger, particularly when they were behaviorally inhibited. In boys, maternal social phobia was associated with increasing fearful responses. Infant avoidance was predicted by expressed maternal anxiety and low levels of encouragement to interact with the stranger. The findings are discussed in relation to theories concerning the intergenerational transmission of social anxiety.