Mothers' emotional expressivity and children's behavior problems and social competence: mediation through children's regulation.

Nancy Eisenberg, E. T. Gershoff, Richard Fabes, S. A. Shepard, A. J. Cumberland, Sandra Losoya, I. K. Guthrie, B. C. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

261 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relations between mothers' expressed positive and negative emotion and 55-79-month-olds' (76% European American) regulation, social competence, and adjustment were examined. Structural equation modeling was used to test the plausibility of the hypothesis that the effects of maternal expression of emotion on children's adjustment and social competence are mediated through children's dispositional regulation. Mothers' expressed emotions were assessed during interactions with their children and with maternal reports of emotions expressed in the family. Children's regulation, externalizing and internalizing problems. and social competence were rated by parents and teachers, and children's persistence was surreptitiously observed. There were unique effects of positive and negative maternal expressed emotion on children's regulation. and the relations of maternal expressed emotion to children's externalizing problem behaviors and social competence were mediated through children's regulation. Alternative models of causation were tested; a child-directed model in which maternal expressivity mediated the effects of child regulation on child outcomes did not fit the data as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-490
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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