African American and European American Mothers' Beliefs About Negative Emotions and Emotion Socialization Practices

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan D. Calkins, Professor (Creator)
Esther M. Leerkes, Professor (Creator)
Stuart Marcovitch, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology (Creator)
Marion O'Brien, Professor, Director of Family Research Center and Associate Dean for Research (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Objective . The authors examined mothers’ beliefs about their children's negative emotions and their emotion socialization practices. Design . A total of 65 African American and 137 European American mothers of 5-year-old children reported their beliefs and typical responses to children's negative emotions, and mothers’ emotion teaching practices were observed. Results . African American mothers reported that the display of negative emotions was less acceptable than European American mothers, and African American mothers of boys perceived the most negative social consequences for the display of negative emotions. African American mothers reported fewer supportive responses to children's negative emotions than did European Americans and more nonsupportive responses to children's anger. African American mothers of boys also reported more nonsupportive responses to submissive negative emotions than did African American mothers of girls. However, no differences were found by ethnicity or child gender in observed teaching about emotions. Group differences in mothers’ responses to negative emotions were explained, in part, by mothers’ beliefs about emotions. Conclusions . Differences in beliefs and practices may reflect African American mothers’ efforts to protect their children from discrimination.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Children, Mothers, Parenting, Socialization, Emotions, Ethnicity

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