Parenting Behaviors and Childhood Anxiety: A Psychometric Investigation of the EMBU-C

Brennan J. Young, Dustin P. Wallace, Mark Imig, Lonnie Borgerding, Amy M. Brown-Jacobsen, Stephen P.H. Whiteside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Parent rearing behaviors, including both behavioral modeling and parent-child interactions, are associated with anxiety in children. Patterns of overprotection or rejecting behavior from parents may lead children to develop behavioral avoidance, lower self-confidence, and higher symptoms of anxiety. Additional research is needed to further elucidate the role that parenting behavior plays in the development of childhood anxiety. Unfortunately, few measures of parenting behavior exist. The EMBU-C is a 40-item child-report measure of these behaviors, but empirical data supporting the psychometric properties of the EMBU-C are limited. The current investigation examined the psychometric properties of the EMBU-C in the context of childhood anxiety. Participants were 213 children with an anxiety disorder and 150 recruited from the community (all aged 8-13 years). Overall, the EMBU-C demonstrated promising psychometrics. In terms of convergent validity, parent rearing behaviors described on the EMBU-C were significantly related to children's anxiety symptoms, anxiety-related disability, parenting stress, family functioning and children's externalizing behaviors. Further, the overprotection and anxious-rearing subscales discriminated between clinical and community participants. Finally, parental overprotection significantly predicted increases in child anxiety and anxiety-related disability 1 year later. Thus, the EMBU-C appears to have value as a clinical tool for assessing parental factors that may contribute to anxiety in children. Recommendations for further item development and measure improvement are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1146
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Anxiety
  • Children
  • Parental rearing behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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