Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Rosanne Menna

Keywords

Psychology, Aggression, Emotional competence, Emotion regulation, Emotion socialization, Preschool, Prosocial behavior

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Young children's prosocial behaviour has been linked with later social and academic competence; whereas aggression in early childhood is predictive of later psychopathology, academic problems, and crime. In a sample of 136 mother-child pairs, associations among maternal emotion socialization, emotional competence, social behaviour, and perceived social acceptance were explored. Results revealed that mothers' expressive encouragement responses and children's emotion regulation skills predicted children's prosocial behaviour. In addition, children's prosocial behaviour was positively associated with their perceived peer acceptance. Children's emotion regulation problems were found to completely mediate the association between mothers' distress reactions and children's parent-reported physical aggression, with higher levels of distress reactions being associated with increases in children's emotion regulation problems, which were linked with higher levels of physical aggression. In addition, children's physical aggression was negatively associated with perceived maternal acceptance and positively associated with discrepancies between child- and parent-reported peer acceptance. Implications for interventions with mothers and children are discussed.

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