The socialization of emotional understanding : a comparison of neglectful and nonneglectful mothers and their children
Edwards, Anna Margaret
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Investigated the influence of maternal socialization (i.e. discussion of emotion, negative affect, maternal support) on children's emotional understanding in 24 neglected children and a matched control group. Mothers and children were administered an interaction task. Mothers were also assessed for negative emotional experience, and children were assessed for emotional understanding and expectations of maternal support. Findings indicated that neglected children demonstrate lower levels of emotional understanding, and that neglectful mothers engage in less emotional discussion, experience more negative emotion, and provide less support in response to their children's emotional displays. Further, maternal support mediated the relation between neglect and children's emotional understanding. Findings are discussed from the functionalist approach to emotional development, emphasizing the importance of social context and socialization on children's emotional understanding.