The purpose of the present study was to investigate the contribution of threat information as provided by the parents to the development of children's fear within the context of the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic. Normal school children aged 7-12 years (N= 223) and their parents completed questionnaires to measure fear of the Swine Flu and general fearfulness for medical affairs. Children and parents were also asked to indicate to what extent parents had provided children with threat-related information about this disease. Results indicated that children's fear of the Swine Flu was significantly related to parents' fear of this disease. Further, it was found that parent's transmission of threat information was positively associated with children's fear and that this link remained significant when controlling for other sources of information (i.e., media, friends, and school) or direct experience with the disease. Most importantly, results showed that threat information as provided by the parents played a role in the association between parents' and children's fear. More precisely, support was found for a partial mediation model in which parents' fear of the Swine Flu was related with parents' threat information transmission, which in turn was associated with children's fear of the disease.

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Journal of Anxiety Disorders
Department of Psychology

Remmerswaal, D, & Muris, P.E.H.M. (2011). Children's fear reactions to the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic: The role of threat information as provided by parents. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25(3), 444–449. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.11.008