Psychopathology in Asian Indian children: Links with emotion regulation and socialization.

Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Martini, Tanya,


Psychology, Clinical.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Despite the recognition of cultural differences in the prevalence of psychological disorders and in general attitudes towards mental illness, very few studies have examined childhood psychopathology in cultures other than North America. This study investigated the role of children's emotion regulation and maternal socialization in psychopathology in Asian Indian children. Mothers of 602 children (between six and eight years) from a middle-class urban community in Gujarat, India rated psychiatric symptomatology in their children using Gujarati adaptation of the Child Behavior Checklist (Raval et al., 2003). The ratings were used to identify children who presented with internalizing problems (n = 31), externalizing problems ( n = 32), somatic complaints (n = 25), and an asymptomatic control group (n = 32). Children's beliefs, regulatory behaviors, and rationales for regulation and expression with respect to anger, sadness, and physical pain in hypothetical everyday situations were assessed using a structured interview. Mothers' beliefs, their emotions, and behaviors in response to their children's anger, sadness, and pain were assessed using a quantitative and a qualitative measure. All measures were derived from the North American literature, and were adapted based on previous research with Asian Indians. Results revealed common patterns of children's emotion regulation and maternal socialization, as well as group differences. The common patterns were found particularly with respect to how mothers and children perceived and responded to psychological versus physical manifestations, as well as to different psychological processes (e.g., anger versus sadness). These patterns were consistent with broader cultural views that endorse more favorable attitudes towards physical than mental illness. Compared to control group, mothers in the externalizing and internalizing groups frequently considered all of their children's emotional expressions acceptable, but reported feeling more anxiety/restlessness and anger/frustration, and using more punitive and minimizing behaviors. Children in these groups showed underregulation of anger and sadness, respectively. Mothers in the somatic complaints group considered none of their children's expressions acceptable, reported feeling less sympathy and using more punitive and minimizing responses. Children in this group reported withdrawing more than the control group. The findings are interpreted within the context of Indian culture, with implications for intervention approaches.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .R38. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-07, Section: B, page: 3721. Adviser: Tanya Martini. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.