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Alicia Dodds, Rachel L. Grover, Ph.D.

Ethnicity and Ethnic Identity in the Relation Between Parenting Behaviors and Anxiety in a Diverse College Student Sample

Anxiety is one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in the U.S. and its symptoms cause marked distress and impairment in functioning. Individuals in early emerging adulthood may be especially susceptible to anxiety due to the novel and transitional nature of this developmental period.

Parenting behaviors have been implicated in the etiology of anxiety. High levels of perceived parental involvement and protection and low levels of perceived parental care have been linked to negative mental health outcomes in emerging adults, including anxiety. However, these relations may not be uniform across ethnic groups. There is some support in the literature to suggest that the ways in which individuals’ perceptions of parenting behaviors relate to anxiety may vary by ethnic group.

Relatedly, ethnic identity may moderate the association between perceived parenting behaviors and anxiety, such that the relation between individuals’ perceptions of parenting behaviors and their anxiety may depend on their level of ethnic identity. Not considering parenting, ethnic identity has been found to negatively correlate with anxiety in African American samples, but not in European American or Asian American samples. No known studies have examined ethnic identity in relation to perceptions of parenting behaviors and trait anxiety.

The purpose of the present study is to explore the relations among perceived parental involvement, protection, and care; ethnicity; ethnic identity; and anxiety in college students. After reviewing the literature, I hypothesize that perceived parenting behaviors are related to college student anxiety and that ethnicity moderates those relations. I will also conduct exploratory analyses regarding the role of ethnic identity as a moderating factor in the relation between perceived parenting behaviors and student anxiety.

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