Depressed And Anxious People Are Raised By Parents Who Do This

Higher risk of depression and anxiety from this parental behaviour.

Higher risk of depression and anxiety from this parental behaviour.

People with critical parents pay less attention to the emotions on other people’s faces, researchers have found.

Looking at and reading emotional expression in other people’s faces helps us build rewarding relationships.

Avoiding these expressions could help to explain how critical parenting can lead to depression and anxiety in later life, since relationships are so critical to well-being.

Ms Kiera James, the study’s first author, said:

“These findings suggest that children with a critical parent might avoid paying attention to faces expressing any type of emotion.

This behavior might affect their relationships with others and could be one reason why children exposed to high levels of criticism are at risk for things like depression and anxiety.”

The results come from a study in which parents talked to their 7 to 11-year-old children for five minutes.

The researchers looked to see how much criticism there was in this segment.

Subsequently, children subject to more criticism avoided looking at pictures of faces showing any type of emotional expression.

Ms James said:

“We know from previous research that people have a tendency to avoid things that make them uncomfortable, anxious, or sad because such feelings are aversive.

We also know that children with a critical parent are more likely to use avoidant coping strategies when they are in distress than children without a critical parent.

Given this research, and our findings that children with a critical parent pay less attention to all emotional facial expressions than children without a critical parent, one possible explanation is that the children with a critical parent avoid looking at any facial expressions of emotion.

This may help them avoid exposure to critical expressions, and, by extension, the aversive feelings they might associate with parental criticism.

That said, it may also prevent them from seeing positive expressions from others.”

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology (James et al., 2018).

‘Depression’ & ‘Anxiety’ Have Changed Their Meaning Over 50 Years (M)

Rather than depression and anxiety being normalised over the last half century, they have been pathologised.

Rather than depression and anxiety being normalised over the last half century, they have been pathologised.


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4 Effective Mind-Body Therapies For Anxiety

Anxiety affects around one-third of adolescents in the US.

Anxiety affects around one-third of adolescents in the US.

Biofeedback, mindfulness, yoga and hypnosis all provide promising mind-body approaches to treating anxiety, research finds.

The standard treatments for anxiety are cognitive-behavioural therapy and/or medication.

However, these treatments can be difficult to obtain, expensive and, in the case of medication, involving significant side-effects.

Mind-body approaches, though, are often cheaper, accessible and usually with no side-effects.

The researchers identified studies on adolescents that supported the use of:

  • Mindfulness involves increasing self-awareness and using breathing techniques. Studies show it can benefit anxiety.
  • Yoga is effective in reducing anxiety.
  • Hypnosis involves relaxation and imagery techniques, which can be effective.
  • Biofeedback helps control anxiety by increasing self-awareness through showing people their own physiological stress response.

Yoga in particular has seen a massive rise in popularity in recent years, the study’s authors write:

“Low in cost, easy to implement, and accessible to individuals of all physical fitness levels, yoga has become an increasingly popular anxiety management tool.”

Anxiety affects around one-third of adolescents in the US.

Almost one-in-ten adolescents experience anxiety severe enough to disrupt their lives.

The study’s authors write:

“Whereas anxiety and fear are typical reactions to the academic, social, and developmental challenges common during the adolescent years, clinical or pathological anxiety is excessive, persistent, and disruptive.”

Most adolescents do not receive any treatment.

Ms Fulweiler and Dr John write:

“A growing body of evidence supports the implementation of mind-body therapy as a low-risk and cost-effective strategy in the management of anxious teenagers.

[…]

Mind-body therapies encompass self-regulation and positive thinking…to help promote self-control, physical health, and emotional well-being.”

The study was published in the journal The Nurse Practitioner (Fulweiler & John, 2018).

3 Childhood Signs Of Adult Anxiety Disorders

Almost half of females had an anxiety disorder along with just over a quarter of males.

Almost half of females had an anxiety disorder along with just over a quarter of males.

There are specific signs that a child will go on to develop an anxiety disorder, a study finds.

These include a tendency to do things alone, crying easily and often and frequently appearing sad and miserable.

All these behaviours are related to being socially and emotionally withdrawn.

In contrast, being shy, submissive or fearful of authority figures  or people in general does not predict adult anxiety disorders.

Mr Nathan Monk, the study’s first author, said:

“Basically, what we have found is that childhood anxious behaviors related to social isolation and sadness appear to carry risk for developing an anxiety disorder in later life.

In contrast, behaviors related to situational fears and anxiety around adults do not appear to carry the same risk.”

The study tracked over 1,000 children born in Christchurch, New Zealand for over four decades.

It found surprisingly high levels of anxiety, with almost half of females having an anxiety disorder along with just over a quarter of males.

Dr Kat Donovan, study co-author, said:

“This research reinforces the importance of actively developing social skills and skills in managing emotions, especially in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life where parents and whānau (a Māori word for extended family) play a key role.”

She continued:

“All tamariki (Māori children) experience anxiety at a certain stage but it only causes concern when it disrupts their development and reduces educational and emotional learning opportunities.”

Dr Donovan has some advice for parents of anxious children:

“It’s tough for parents and whānau to see their child in distress but it’s important they help them tolerate their feelings and not avoid them, by encouraging them to be in situations which are challenging and providing them with opportunities to be exposed to those situations.

However, if they don’t feel they have the skills to cope with certain behaviors they should seek out parenting courses or professional support.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Medicine (Monk et al., 2021).

Anxiety: 12 Fascinating Psychology Studies

Anxiety is contagious, social isolating, it changes eating habits, provokes difficulties concentrating, interferes with sleep and is partly inherited.

Anxiety is contagious, social isolating, it changes eating habits, provokes difficulties concentrating, interferes with sleep and is partly inherited.

Like many mental health problems, almost everyone experiences anxiety from time-to-time.

Whether it is a problem all depends on the amount and nature of the anxiety.

Everyday anxiety in response to stressful events is normal, but severe anxiety in response to relatively minor events can be seriously disabling.

Anxiety is contagious, social isolating, it changes eating habits, provokes difficulties concentrating, interferes with sleep and is partly inherited.

Below are 12 psychology studies from the members-only section of PsyBlog on anxiety and the best ways to cope with and treat it.

(If you are not already, find out how to become a PsyBlog member here.)

  1. This Sign Of Anxiety Is Easy To Miss
  2. 3 Childhood Signs Of Adult Anxiety Disorders
  3. Baking Cookies For A Friend Beats CBT Techniques For Depression
  4. The Best Treatment For Anxiety Is Often Not Medication
  5. Anxiety: This Activity Triples Chances Of Symptom Improvement
  6. How To Lower Anxiety Disorder Risk By 60%
  7. The Most Effective Ways To Reduce Worry And Rumination
  8. A Food Supplement That Reduces Anxiety
  9. 2 Psychotherapies That Reduce Neuroticism Dramatically
  10. The Best Diet To Beat Anxiety
  11. 2 Personality Traits Linked To Social Anxiety
  12. The Best Treatment For Social Anxiety Disorder

→ Get Dr Jeremy Dean’s anxiety ebook.

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2 Personality Traits Linked To Chronic Anxiety

The two personality traits can interact with each other to produce chronic anxiety problems.

The two personality traits can interact with each other to produce chronic anxiety problems.

People who are both neurotic and introverted are more likely to experience anxiety problems, research finds.

Signs of introversion include preferring to be in a quiet, relaxing environment and having a rich mental life.

Neurotic people have a tendency towards sadness, irritability and self-consciousness.

The two personality traits can interact with each other to produce chronic anxiety problems.

It may be because people who are both introverted and neurotic tend to pay more attention to things going wrong, rather than to potential rewards.

Over the years, focusing on problems rather than rewards may condition people with these personality traits to experience more anxiety.

This is hardly surprising if all a person sees is problems everywhere.

Another contributing problem could be that introverted and neurotic people are less likely to get help from others, the study’s authors write:

“…perhaps an introverted neurotic person is prone to experiencing greater anxiety because of a lack of social support to aid in the amelioration of such anxiety (an introverted person may not seek much interaction with others).

Thus, an introverted person may not have the coping strategy of seeking social support as an option, which then maintains and potentially exacerbates anxiety…”

The conclusions come from a study of 466 young adults who were assessed twice over three years.

The results showed that those who were both neurotic and introverted were more likely to be experiencing high levels of anxiety issues three years later.

The study’s authors write:

“Low extraversion and high neuroticism relate to greater susceptibility to negative affect, less susceptibility to signals of reward, greater susceptibility to signals of punishment, and higher vulnerability to arousal and anxiety.”

On their own, being neurotic or introverted may not cause a major anxiety problem.

For example, people who are highly neurotic, but also outgoing and extraverted, may be protected from anxiety, the authors write:

“Even if an individual is highly neurotic, this same individual with high extraversion would more likely also be sensitive to signals of reward, which may offset or mask feelings of extreme anxiety.”

People who are just introverted, but with a stable personality (non-neurotic), were no more likely to be anxious, the study found:

“…even if an individual is highly introverted, this same individual with low neuroticism and low emotional reactivity would be less likely to react to signals of punishment with negative affect such as anxiety.”

The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Gershuny & Sher, 1998).

Anxiety Treatment: This Is The Most Effective Way (M)

While many people experience anxiety, it is considered a disorder when it interferes with everyday life and treatment is required.

While many people experience anxiety, it is considered a disorder when it interferes with everyday life and treatment is required.


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