Parental Anxious Expectations and Child Anxiety Predicting Homesickness during Overnight Summer Camp
Keywords:summer camp, homesickness, parent anxiety, child anxiety, gender differences
AbstractAlthough mild homesickness during summer camp is common, 10 to 20% of children report moderate to severe homesickness that can interfere with their functioning during camp. Previous research has considered many risk and protective factors for homesickness, including prior camp experience and coping strategies. Few studies have examined the role of parent or child anxiety. Both are associated with child adjustment difficulties in school and clinic settings, but have rarely been examined in the camp setting. This exploratory study examined parents' worries about sending their children to camp, and children's anxiety symptoms in predicting homesickness during overnight summer camp. Participants included 275 children and adolescents (7 to 14 years, 131 male and 144 female). At the beginning of camp, parents/guardians reported their anxious expectations, and children completed several items from the Screen for Child Anxiety and Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED). Near the end of camp, children reported the amount of homesickness they experienced using items from the Rate Your Day-Revised checklist. The regression model accounted for 36% of the variance in homesickness, with younger child age, less prior camp experience, higher parental anxious expectations, and greater child separation anxiety uniquely predicting homesickness. Implications for including strategies for parents in homesickness prevention programs are discussed.
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