Relations between family/friendship satisfaction and anxiety in a sample of children with phobic and anxiety disorders: exploring variability across age and ethnicity
Although anxiety may be developmentally appropriate, it can become problematic in some youth. From an ecological perspective, social systems, like family and friendships, are theorized to influence developmental trajectories toward (mal)adjustment, but empirical evidence is scant with regard to the relative impact of subjective satisfaction with family and friendship on anxiety problem development. This thesis study used a subsample of approximately 50% Hispanic/Latino clinic-referred youth (n = 71, ages 6-16 years). Overall, results suggest that the effect of friendship satisfaction on anxiety varied as a function of age but not ethnicity, such that there was a significant negative relationship between child-reported friendship satisfaction and anxiety levels for older children (approx. 9 years and older) but not for younger children. The effect of family satisfaction on anxiety also varied as a function of age, such that older children showed a positive relation between child reported family satisfaction and parent reported anxiety. Furthermore, a positive relation between family satisfaction and anxiety was found only for the H/L children. Post hoc analyses regarding cultural underpinnings of this finding and implications for future research are discussed, as are the results regarding differences between parent and child reports of anxiety.