New research discovers that when mothers of children with social anxiety disorder try to support their children, their efforts may lead to negative consequences.
Investigators used an experiment that involved building difficult puzzles and discovered that, even at home, mothers of children with the disorder are more involved with their offspring than mothers of healthy control children.
These findings indicate behavioral control on the part of the mother, says Julia Asbrand of the Institute of Psychology in Freiburg, Germany.
Study findings are published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research.
Experts explain that social anxiety disorder (SAD) usually emerges in late childhood or early adolescence. It affects up to seven percent of children and can persist into adulthood if left untreated.
The diagnosis involves a persistent fear of being embarrassed in social settings. SAD can limit children’s lives in regard to the social relationships they are able to form, their academic performance, and their general well-being.
Most studies that have assessed the important role of the family with regard to SAD have been done within a laboratory setting. To extend research on the matter, Asbrand’s team conducted their experiment in the homes of 55 pairs of mothers and children (aged between nine and 13 years old, with and without SAD).
This was done to assess their interaction within their natural environment.