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25-09-2019 | Original Paper

Emotion Socialization and Developmental Risk: Interactive Effects of Receptive Language and Maltreatment on Reminiscing

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Auteurs:
Christina G. McDonnell, Kaitlin Fondren, Ruth Speidel, Kristin Valentino
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Objectives

Emotional reminiscing, or mother-child discussion of past emotional experiences, is a critical aspect of emotion socialization that predicts a range of child outcomes and is central to parent-child interventions. Thus, understanding individual differences in emotional reminiscing will advance our ability to identify families at-risk for poor emotion dialogues and to adapt interventions for diverse populations, such as families affected by maltreatment and mothers and children with low language abilities. The present study examined associations among maternal and child receptive language with emotional reminiscing and the moderating role of maltreatment.

Methods

Two hundred and twenty three underserved, racially diverse mothers (144 maltreating) and their preschool aged children completed measures of receptive language (PPVT-4). Emotional reminiscing was comprehensively measured using maternal report and observations of emotion dialogues, including ratings of elaborations, maternal sensitive guidance, and child cooperative exploration.

Results

Child language was positively associated with all observed aspects of child reminiscing, and the association between child language and maternal reminiscing was moderated by maltreatment. For nonmaltreating families, child language was positively associated with maternal factual elaborations and sensitive guidance. For the maltreating families, these associations were not significant, demonstrating that maltreatment disrupted the association between child language and reminiscing. Maternal language was significantly associated with maternal report of emotion dismissing behaviors, regardless of maltreatment status.

Conclusions

Results highlight that language is an essential individual difference factor contributing to variance in emotion dialogues, and that maltreatment influences how child language relates to reminiscing. Future directions and clinical implications for families affected by developmental risk are considered.

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