Parents are a critical influence on adolescents’ expressions of positive affect (PA; happiness, excitement), which are important components of adaptive emotional development during this developmental period. Despite a recent proliferation of studies examining outcomes of parental response to PA, limited research has explored unique adolescent characteristics that relate to parents’ specific responses to adolescent PA. Thus, the current study examined the contribution of specific adolescent characteristics (temperament, age, and gender) on dampening and enhancing responses to PA.
Parents (n= 371, 49.6% mothers) of adolescents between ages 10 and 17 years (Mage = 13.5 years, 46.4% female) recruited thru Amazon Mechanical Turk completed a series of questionnaires on their offspring’s temperament and their enhancing and dampening responses to youth PA.
Over and above parental age and gender, parent-reported adolescent positive emotionality and effortful control were uniquely related to dampening responses; however, all temperament dimensions were unrelated to enhancing responses. Adolescent age and gender were unrelated to parental PA socialization and did not moderate links between parent-reported temperament and parental dampening responses; however, there was a significant three-way inter action for temperament, age and gender for parental enhancing responses.
Overall the findings suggest that adolescents low in effortful control and positive emotionality elicit more parental dampening responses to PA. Future research is needed to clarify the factors that contribute to parents’ enhancing of PA.