Parent Emotion Coaching and Emotion Language Effects on Children's Use of Emotion Words
Kurtz, Kellie Piper (K. Piper)
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Mothers' and fathers' emotion socialization through parent-emotion coaching and parent emotion language was investigated for effects on children's positive and negative emotion language. The sample included 14 two-parent families and their preschooler. Mothers' were an average age of 32.92 years old and fathers were an average age of34.85 year old. The children, 9 girls (M=4 years, 4 months) and 5 boys (M=3 years, 9 months), wore the modified EAR, which recorded continuously for one day. The recordings were transcribed and -run through the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) program to obtain negative and positive emotion word outputs for mother, father and child. Emotion coaching variables were taken from Katz and Gottman's Meta Emotion Interview, designed to address parents' feelings about their own and their child's emotions, and how they emotion coach their children in response to these feelings. Variables were then adapted for the present study's naturalistic coding system which scored for emotion coaching characteristics from the recordings. The parent emotion-coaching coding system distinguished between both positive and negative valence of emotions and was coded separately for mothers and fathers. The 8 final emotion-coaching variables were: valence, mom engage, dad engage, mom aware, dad aware, mom comfort, dad comfort, and mom label. Results found significant differences in mothers' and fathers' emotion coaching and emotion language; mothers showing higher amounts in each. There were also interactions between emotion coaching variables, especially of the same valence. Positive valence awareness and positive valence engagement were inter-correlated for both mothers and fathers. Negative awareness, negative engagement, and negative comfort were all correlated for both mothers and fathers. Results addressing emotion coaching valence differences were modest in that mothers' awareness was the only variable to show a significant different in relation to valence. Findings of emotion coaching variable associations with child emotion language opposed study predictions as fathers' positive awareness and engagement were found to be negatively inter-correlated with child positive emotion expression.
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