Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Wesley D. Allan


Parental social anxiety is a well-established risk factor for child social anxiety. In addition to being passed along genetically, parental anxiety seems to be transmitted partially via environmental factors, such as parental cognitions and behaviors that convey negative expectations toward the child. This paper reviews the current literature linking maternal social anxiety, maternal cognitions, and offspring social anxiety. Using a retrospective design, a mediated model, examining the association between maternal social anxiety and later offspring social anxiety, with maternal cognitions and behaviors during childhood as a mediator was tested. Consistent with the hypothesis, maternal fear of negative evaluation served as a mediator between maternal social anxiety and offspring social anxiety. However, contrary to the hypotheses, maternal worry, expectancies in social and general success dimensions, and overprotective behavior did not serve as mediators between maternal social anxiety and offspring social anxiety. This paper adds to the existing literatures that link maternal anxiety and offspring anxiety.