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Parent Socialization of Emotion in a High-Risk Sample

NCJ Number
Developmental Psychology Volume: 56 Issue: 3 Dated: 2020 Pages: 489-502
Date Published
14 pages

This study examined a conceptual model for emotion socialization in a community sample of alcoholic and nonalcoholic father families (N = 227) recruited in infancy (i.e., 12 months) with follow-ups to adolescence (i.e., 15–19 years), and examined whether hypothesized paths differed by child sex or group status (alcoholic vs. nonalcoholic families).


The Socialization of Emotion (Eisenberg, Cumberland, & Spinrad, 1998; Eisenberg, Spinrad, & Cumberland, 1998) model creates a theoretical framework for understanding parents’ direct and indirect influences on children’s emotional development, including the influence of parent characteristics on subsequent emotion specific parenting. Large numbers of children live in families with fathers who have alcohol problems, setting the stage for cascading risk across development. For instance, fathers’ alcohol problems are a marker of risk for higher family conflict, increased parental depression and antisociality, and less sensitive parenting, leading to dysregulated child emotion and behavior. The current study’s results indicated significant indirect effects between parent psychopathology and sensitivity in early childhood to both adaptive (e.g., emotion regulation) and maladaptive (e.g., aggression and peer delinquency) outcomes in middle childhood to adolescence via child negative emotionality and supportive emotion socialization. There were significant differences by child sex and alcohol group status. Implications for intervention and prevention are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020