The relations of mothers' negative expressivity to children's experience and expression of negative emotion

Carlos Valiente, Nancy Eisenberg, Stephanie A. Shepard, Richard Fabes, Amanda J. Cumberland, Sandra Losoya, Tracy Spinrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Guided by the heuristic model proposed by Eisenberg et al. [Psychol. Inq. 9 (1998) 241], we examined the relations of mothers' reported and observed negative expressivity to children's (N = 159; 74 girls; M age = 7.67 years) experience and expression of emotion. Children's experience and/or expression of emotion in response to a distressing film were measured with facial, heart rate, and self-report measures. Children's heart rate and facial distress were modestly positively related. Children's facial distress was significantly positively related to mothers' reports of negative (dominant and submissive) expressivity; the positive relation between children's facial distress and mothers' observed negative expressivity approached the conventional level of significance. Moreover, mothers' observed negative expressivity was significantly negatively related to children's heart rate reactivity during the conflict film. The positive relation between children's reported distress and mothers' observed negative expressivity approached the conventional level of significance. Several possible explanations for the pattern of findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-235
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004

Keywords

  • Children's distress
  • Children's emotions
  • Emotional expressivity
  • Maternal emotion
  • Multimethod

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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