Parent-child emotional talk, parent-child physical touch, and children's understanding of emotions

Aznar, Ana (2012) Parent-child emotional talk, parent-child physical touch, and children's understanding of emotions. (PhD thesis), Kingston University,

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The aim of the present research was to analyze parent-child emotion talk and parent-child physical touch and their relation with children's understanding of emotions. A total of sixty¬three children (30 girls and 33 boys), aged 4 (M= 53.35 months, SD = 3.86; range = 48 - 60 months) and ö-years-old (M= 76.62 months, SD = 3.91; range = 72- 84 months) participated with both of their parents. Parent-child interviews took place in the participants' own homes. On a first visit, the mother or the father and the child completed two storytelling tasks. One of these tasks involved a storytelling task and the other involved a four events reminiscence task. Within a minimum of one day and a maximum of seven days, the other parent and the child completed the same two tasks. Parent-child emotion talk and parent-child physical touch was analyzed throughout both tasks. The findings indicated that mothers and fathers did not differ in how they talk about emotions. Indeed, mothers' and fathers' talk correlated with each other and with their children's emotion talk. However, mothers and fathers talked more about emotions with their daughters than with their sons. Parents discussed more often happiness with their daughters than with their sons. No gender or age differences were found in children's emotion talk. The analysis of parent-child touch revealed that where age differences were found, findings indicated that parent-child touch decreased as children grow older. Where parent gender differences were found, results show that mothers were more physically affectionate than are fathers. In addition, children completed twice a standardised test of emotion understanding (Test of Emotion Comprehension, TEC). On the first occasion the TEC was administered before one of the two parent-child storytelling sessions. Six months later it was administered again. Findings indicated that emotion understanding is predicted by prior emotion understanding. Above and beyond prior emotion understanding, fathers' emotion explanations during the events task predicted children's emotion understanding and mothers' use of emotion labels during the storytelling task predicted children's emotion understanding. On the contrary, parents' physical touch was not related to children's emotion understanding. Finally, children completed a test (Test of Behavioural Consequences of Emotions, TBCE) analyzing the relation between emotions and their behavioural consequences. Six-year-old children had a greater understanding that emotions influence situations than did four-year-old children. Moreover, understanding that emotions influence situations was related to mentalistic aspects of emotion understanding. The implications of these findings for future research on children's socializations of emotions are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Physical Location: This item is held in stock at Kingston University library.
Research Area: Psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology (from November 2012)
Depositing User: Niki Wilson
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2013 08:34
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 10:15

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