Predictive Relationship Between Parental Beliefs and Accommodation of Pediatric Anxiety
2017 Behavior performed by parents to assist a youth in avoiding or alleviating anxiety, known as accommodation, is ubiquitous among pediatric anxiety disorders and strongly related to poor treatment outcome. According to cognitive-behavioral theory, the beliefs parents hold regarding accommodation should predict parental accommodating behavior. Unfortunately, little is known about the beliefs parents hold regarding accommodation, as there exists no validated measure of this construct. First, the psychometric properties were examined for the Parental Accommodation Scale (PAS), a novel measure of parental accommodating behavior frequency (PAS-Behavior scale) and parental beliefs about accommodation (PAS-Belief scale). Second, the relationship between parental beliefs about accommodation and accommodation frequency was examined. Results provide preliminary evidence of the internal consistency and convergent validity of the PAS. Stronger positive beliefs about accommodation significantly predicted accommodation frequency, even after controlling for youth anxiety severity. Specifically, beliefs that accommodation prevents youth from losing behavioral and emotional control significantly predicted accommodation frequency. Therefore, efforts to decrease accommodation in clinical settings should involve correcting maladaptive parental beliefs about accommodation, with a particular emphasis on beliefs regarding the necessity of accommodation in preventing a youth from losing behavioral and emotional control.