Role of Parental Overprotection and Stressful Life Events in Occurrence of Anxiety Disorders

Author: Sadaf Mansab

Supervisor: Dr. Humaira Mohsin

Degree: MS

Year: 2008-2010

University: Centre for Clinical Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The present study aimed to explore the role of perceived parental overprotection in childhood and experiences of stressful life events, as possible risk factors for the development of anxiety disorders in adulthood. Retrospective Ex post Facto Research Design was used. It was a comparative study with two matched groups; clinical and control groups; matched on age, gender and education. Purposive sampling (Criterion- based sampling) procedure was used to choose the required sample consisting of 400 adults (age range = 18- 53 years), and both clinical and control groups had equal number of participants. Sample consisted of 176 (44 %) males and 224 females (56%). Symptom Checklist-R ‘s Anxiety subscale (SCL- was used to quantify the anxiety level, Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) was applied to measure parental level of care and overprotection and Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) was administered to assess the level of stress experienced by stressful life events. All questionnaires were back translated into Urdu. A pilot study was conducted to test the achievability of the research procedure and to evaluate the translated questionnaires. Clinical sample was collected from teaching hospitals and control sample was taken from Punjab University departments, community and markets. Independent sample t-test and Regression analysis was used as statistical analysis procedures. Results showed that clinical group perceived their fathers and mothers as significantly more overprotective than control group and clinical group perceived their fathers and mothers significantly less caring than control group. Clinical group scored significantly higher on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale as compared to control group. Regression analysis on clinical group revealed that mother\s overprotection (positively correlated) and father care (negatively correlated) was the best predictors of anxiety in adult age.

Keywords: Anxiety Disorders, Parental Overprotection, Stressful Life Events.

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