Mothers' expressive style and emotional responses to children's behavior predict children's prosocial and achievement-related self-ratings


Journal Article

In this study we investigated whether mothers' typical expressive style and specific emotional responses to children's behaviors are linked to children's prosocial and competence self-ratings. Eight-to 12-year-old children and their mothers rated how mothers had felt when children behaved pro-socially and antisocially, achieved and failed to achieve. Children rated self-descriptiveness of prosocial and achievement-related traits. Mothers' positive expressiveness was associated with children's higher achievement-related self-ratings. Mothers' positive- and negative-dominant expressiveness was associated with children's lower prosocial self-ratings. Mothers' happiness about both children's prosocial and achievement-related behavior was associated with children's higher self-ratings for both domains. Mothers' anger about children's antisocial behavior was related to children's lower self-ratings for both domains. When mothers were higher in negative-submissive expressiveness, and responded with more sadness to children's failure to achieve, children reported lower achievement self-ratings. Results support the importance of multidimensional assessment of self-concept and suggest that parents' typical expressive style moderates the influence of parents' specific emotional responses on children's self-ratings. © 2009 The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dunsmore, JC; Bradburn, IS; Costanzo, PR; Fredrickson, BL

Published Date

  • January 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 33 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 253 - 264

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1464-0651

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0165-0254

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0165025408098025

Citation Source

  • Scopus