Maternal interactive style across contexts: Relations to emotional, behavioral and physiological regulation during toddlerhood.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan D. Calkins, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Sixty-five mothers and their 24-month-old toddlers were observed in a series of laboratory procedures designed to assess relations between maternal interactive style and emotional, behavioral and physiological regulation. Emotional regulation was assessed by examining the child’s behaviors (aggression, distraction, object focus) when confronted by three emotion-eliciting tasks. Behavioral regulation was measured by examining children’s ability to comply to maternal requests and to inhibit behavior during a delay task. Physiological regulation was derived from children’s cardiac vagal tone responses to emotionally-arousing situations. Maternal interactive style was assessed by examining mothers’ strategies for child behavior management (negative controlling, positive guidance) during three mother-child tasks. Maternal behavior was related to regulation in each of the three domains. Negative maternal behavior was related to poor physiological regulation, less adaptive emotion regulation, and noncompliant behavior. Positive maternal behavior was correlated with compliance, but not with any of the physiological or emotional measures. These findings are discussed in terms of the adaptive value of self-regulation in early development, and the importance of identifying the causal relations between maternal behavior and child regulation.

Additional Information

Social Development, 7, 350-369
Language: English
Date: 1998
Maternal behavior, Regulation, Temperament, Heart rate

Email this document to