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Title:Family emotional expressiveness as a mediator of children's social competence
Author(s):Boyum, Lisa Ann
Director of Research:Parke, Ross D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Asher, Steven R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Diener, Carol I.; Hubert, Lawrence J.; Mangelsdorf, Sarah C.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Emotional expression
Social competence
Family expressiveness
Childhood development
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to explore the connection between emotional expression in the child's family environment and children's social competence with peers at school. Previous research was extended in two ways: by direct observation and quantification of affective dimensions characterizing family expressiveness, and by extending prior laboratory-based work to the naturalistic environment. Fifty families of kindergarten girls and boys, varying by sociometric status, were videotaped in spontaneous dinnertable interactions. The parents completed questionnaires concerning emotional expressiveness of self and spouse, rating the frequency, intensity, and clarity of expressive behaviors. Videotapes were coded for frequency, intensity, clarity, and type of affect exchanged between parent-parent and parent-child dyads. Results indicated that family affective interactions previously observed in structured parent-child play interactions are generalizable to the unstructured home environment. Both parental expressiveness and observed parental affect were found to be meaningful predictors of children's sociometric ratings. Specific observed affect measurement validated the concept of positive expressiveness and clarified questions regarding negative expressiveness. The predictiveness of expressiveness ratings to children's social status and social competence with peers was improved by the addition of intensity and clarity ratings. Differences were found in parental sensitivity to negative expressiveness and in the effects of negative affect on boys and girls. The results of this study have implications for understanding the role of emotion as a mediator linking the child's family and peer systems, and for developing and implementing family-based interventions aimed at remediating children's social competence deficits and related problems.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Lisa Ann Boyum
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-02-19

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