Parental Socialization of Children's Anger and Sadness and Children's Affective Social Competence

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Title: Parental Socialization of Children's Anger and Sadness and Children's Affective Social Competence
Author: Stelter, Rebecca Lynn
Advisors: Pamela Martin, Committee Member
Shevaun Neupert, Committee Member
Lynne Baker-Ward, Committee Member
Amy Halberstadt, Committee Chair
Abstract: Parents’ emotion-related socialization behaviors are one component of the process through which children learn about the experience, expression and regulation of emotions and much research has examined these behaviors in relation to children’s outcomes (Eisenberg, Cumberland, & Spinrad, 1998). Parents’ behaviors are informed in part by their underlying beliefs about children’s emotions (Dunsmore & Halberstadt, 1997; Halberstadt, Thompson, Parker, & Dunsmore, 2008; Wong, McElwain, & Halberstadt, 2009). Much of the research on emotion socialization beliefs and behavior has combined negative emotions without examining whether there are unique socialization processes for distinct emotions. The goal of the current study was to explore the relationship between parents’ beliefs about two distinct emotions, anger and sadness, and parents’ socialization behaviors for these two emotions, as well as how parents’ beliefs and behaviors relate to children’s affective social competence. In addition, the influence of parent gender, child gender, and ethnicity was assessed. A diverse sample of parents (African American, European American and Lumbee Native American) and their 8-12 year old children were recruited to explore the five major aims of the current study. The main findings supported the importance of distinguishing between parents’ beliefs and behaviors for children’s anger and sadness. Parent gender and education group differences were also found in parents’ beliefs about anger and sadness. This is an important contribution to the literature and future research should examine whether certain parental beliefs and behaviors are more beneficial for children’s outcomes than others.
Date: 2010-04-27
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Psychology

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