The present study investigated the influence of parents’ anxiety on their parenting behaviour towards their newborn infants. Five types of parenting behaviour were examined, namely, discipline, parent-led routine, apprehension, nurturance, and involvement. A total of 635 participants (350 mothers, 285 fathers) were recruited at six weeks postpartum from a regional hospital in Singapore. According to the cut-off score of ≥ 8 on a standardized anxiety scale, the prevalence of probable anxiety disorder (PAD) was 14.6% (15.5% for mothers, 13.5% for fathers). A 2 (gender: mothers vs fathers) x 2 (anxiety: PAD vs no-PAD) x 5 (parenting behaviour) analysis of variance with repeated measures on parenting behaviour was conducted. A significant gender x anxiety 2-way interaction effect was found. Among the PAD group, mothers reported more parent-led routine parenting behaviour, as compared to fathers. Among the no-PAD group, mothers reported less discipline parenting behaviour, as compared to fathers. Mothers in the PAD group reported more nurturance parenting behaviour, as compared to mothers in the no-PAD group. Participants in the PAD group reported more apprehension and involvement parenting behaviour, as compared to participants in the no-PAD group. These findings highlight the importance of including anxiety management programs in postnatal classes and parent support groups. There is a need for longitudinal follow-up studies to assess the long-term impact of anxiety on parenting behaviour and child development.
Linda Pang, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Yvaine Koh, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Catherine Tang, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Luxi Chen, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Jean Yeung, National University of Singapore, Singapore