Date of Award

4-14-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Hakim-Larson, Julie

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Much of what is known about emotion socialization has been based on predominately White, well-educated samples living in the United States. Participants in the present study included an ethnically diverse sample of mothers (N = 168) living in Canada with preschool-aged children ranging from 4 to 7 years (86 boys and 82 girls). In this multi-method study, mothers first completed quantitative and qualitative online survey questionnaires (Phase 1) and then 30 mother-child dyads participated in a series of tasks completed in a laboratory setting (Phase 2). The purpose of Phase 1 was to examine relations between mothers’ cultural values, temperament, and emotion-related parenting styles (Gottman & DeClaire, 1997). The focus of Phase 2 was to study how mothers’ emotion-related parenting styles relate to children’s emotion regulation and mother-child discussion about emotions. Over 23% of the Phase 1 mothers were born outside of Canada/U.S., emigrating from 22 different countries located across Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and Europe. Maternal generation status, maternal ethnicity (European and non-European), maternal age, social desirability, and children’s gender were all identified as being significantly related to dependent variables. Emotion rejecting, but not emotion coaching, was significantly predicted by maternal values (conservation and self-transcendence), and dyadic temperamental patterns. With social desirability controlled for, emotion coaching, as assessed using a questionnaire format, was not a significant mediator in any models predicting emotion regulation. However, emotion rejecting made significant contributions in all models predicting emotion regulation. Neither emotion coaching nor emotion rejecting was significantly related to children’s persistence and frustration scores during an emotion regulation task. Greater children’s persistence during the emotion regulation task was significantly associated with greater mother-child emotion talk during a storytelling task, even after controlling for covariates. Additionally, interactions between maternal generation status, ethnicity, and children’s gender on emotion coaching and emotion rejecting were found, as well as links between emotion rejecting, maternal values, temperament, and emotion regulation. Through a qualitative analysis, mothers described the contexts in which they dismissed or disapproved of their children’s emotions, which differed at times based on maternal ethnicity and values. For example, when mothers disapproved of their children’s emotions because their children’s expressions were perceived as disrespectful, it appeared likely that their socialization goals were focused on harmony, family unity, and respect. This study adds to the literature that shows relations among emotion-related parenting, maternal characteristics and values, preschoolers’ characteristics, and contextual factors. The results are discussed in light of the domains of socialization approach of Grusec and Davidov (2015).

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