Previous studies described a relation between anxiety-related cognitive biases in normally developing children and parents. The current study examined the familial aggregation of cognitive biases in children with anxiety disorders (N = 55) and their parents, with possible moderators and mediators as mechanisms underlying this aggregation. Cognitive biases for children were measured by the dot-probe task for attention bias and by ambiguous stories for interpretation bias. Mothers’ (n = 50) and fathers’ (n = 30) lifetime mood and anxiety disorders were assessed, along with their attention bias (dot-probe task) and self-reported rearing styles. Results showed an association between maternal attention bias and interpretation bias of children (r = 0.31, p = 0.032). However, this association was neither moderated by maternal lifetime mood or anxiety disorders nor mediated by maternal rearing styles. The familial aggregation of maternal attention bias and children’s interpretation bias is presumably influenced by other factors than maternal mood or anxiety disorders or rearing styles.

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Keywords Childhood anxiety disorders, Cognitive biases, Familial aggregation, Mediating effect, Moderating effect, Parenting
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Journal Cognitive Therapy and Research
de Lijster, J.M. (Jasmijn M.), Utens, E.M.W.J, Dieleman, G.C, Alexander, T.M. (Tamsin M.), Hillegers, M.H.J, & Legerstee, J.S. (2019). Familial Aggregation of Cognitive Biases for Children with Anxiety Disorders. Cognitive Therapy and Research. doi:10.1007/s10608-019-10031-0