Parents' and children's appraisals of each other's anxiety while facing a common threat.

M. Rosenbaum*, T. Ronen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of 11-to 12-year-old children and their parents to infer each other's anxiety level under the threat of missile attacks during the 1991 Gulf War in Israel was investigated. An information exchange model for appraising other people's emotions served as the basis for predicting agreement rates among family members. As predicted, children's ratings of parental anxiety were primarily associated with their own anxiety (projected information), whereas parents' ratings of their spouses' and their children's anxiety were primarily predicted from spouses' self-reported anxiety (target-emitted information) and spouses' evaluations of the children's anxiety (shared information), respectively. Mother-father concordance on ratings of each other's and children's anxiety was significantly higher than parent-child agreement on parental and child anxiety. Agreement on parental anxiety among the 3 sources was partially a function of physical closeness among informants. The results suggest that at least within the nuclear family, under an external threat inferences about each other's anxiety level are partly based on social exchange of emotionally relevant information. However, it remains for future research to determine how exactly emotionally relevant information is communicated and processed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of clinical child psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1997


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