Socialization of emotion management skills in families with anxious children
Brown, Amy Margaret
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Twenty-six mother-child dyads involving children with anxiety disorders and 26 matched dyads with non-anxious children were interviewed to assess emotion management skills (i.e., emotional awareness, emotion regulation) and maternal emotion socialization practices associated with childhood anxiety. One-way ANOVAs were conducted to examine group differences. Findings indicated that anxious children have less adaptive regulation skills and greater emotion dysregulation as compared to non-anxious children. Groups did not differ on children's emotional awareness of fear. Compared to mothers of non-anxious children, mothers of anxious children reported higher levels of negative expressivity, endorsed greater promotion of avoidant behaviors in children, and demonstrated more invalidation during a mother-child interaction task compared to mothers of non-anxious children. Groups did not differ on levels of maternal positive expressivity or on maternal validation during the interaction task. Findings are discussed from a developmental psychopathology approach, emphasizing the possible role of emotion socialization practices in children’s development of anxiety disorders.