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Title:Adolescents' and mothers' affect during their daily interactions: an examination in the United States and China
Author(s):Yuen, Cynthia X
Advisor(s):Pomerantz, Eva M.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
family relationships
Abstract:Research conducted in the United States indicates that daily conflicts between parents and children show a modest increase across the transition to adolescence, along with heightened reciprocal negative affect. However, this mild "storm and stress" may be less typical in non-Western countries such as China. This is perhaps because East Asian cultures traditionally value minimization of emotional expression as a way to preserve social harmony, which may dampen the affect Chinese adolescents and mothers elicit in each other during their daily interactions. This study examined adolescents and mothers' daily affective experiences in interacting with one another in the United States and China as a possible source of later differences in European American and Chinese adolescents’ emotional intensity. A second key endeavor was to elucidate the downstream implications of American and Chinese children’s affective experiences in interacting with mothers. Using daily interviews and longitudinal surveys among a sample of 80 European American mothers and their children (n = 39 girls, Mage = 12.88 years) and 71 Chinese mothers and their children (n = 35 girls, Mage = 12.73 years), I found that Chinese adolescents consistently experienced less intense emotions – both positive and negative – than did European Americans. The present findings suggest that, through their interactions with their mothers, adolescents acquire the rules governing emotion that are appropriate in their cultures, impacting their broader emotional experiences a year later. Thus, differences in the intensity of European American and Chinese adolescents’ later affective experiences may be partially learned in and sustained by their interactions with their mothers.
Issue Date:2016-03-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Cynthia Yuen
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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