The moderating effect of parenting styles on the relationship between social anxiety and depressive symptomatology in adolescents

  • Eliana Silva Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
  • Ana Paula Soares de Matos Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal Centro de Investigação do Núcleo de Estudos e Intervenção Cognitivo-Comportamental, FPCEUC, Portugal
  • José Joaquim Marques da Costa Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
  • Vanessa Ramos Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
  • Joana Lopes Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
Keywords: Social Anxiety, Depression, Parenting Styles, Moderation, Adolescence


Intruduction: The comorbidity between depression and social anxiety is high in adolescence. Parental emotion socialization behaviors have been associated with the development of social skills and depressive symptomatology.

Objectives: This study aims to explore the moderating effect of parenting styles on the relationship between social anxiety and depression, to study the associations between them, and to analyze the relationship between parenting styles, social anxiety and depressive symptomatology in adolescents.

Methods: The sample consisted of 122 parents and their children. Self-report instruments were used to assess social anxiety, depressive symptomatology and parenting styles.

Results: It was found that social anxiety is significantly associated to depression and that the former has a predictive effect on the latter. The parenting styles revealed no significant associations with either depressive symptomatology or with social anxiety, but a moderating effect of explorer parenting style was found in the relationship between social anxiety (public performance) and depressive symptomatology.

Conclusions: The present investigation confirmed the existence of a significant association between social anxiety and depressive symptomatology in adolescence and suggests an effect of parental practices of emotional socialization in this relation, which, however, should be replicated in future research. It will also be important to study the effect of parenting styles on children's emotional regulation skills and their possible mediating effect on the relationship between social anxiety and depression.


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