Maternal regulation of child affect in externalizing and typically-developing children
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Family Psychology, 29, 1, (2015), pp. 10-19
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Journal of Family Psychology
Temporal contingencies between children's affect and maternal behavior play a role in the development of children's externalizing problems. The goal of the current study was to use a microsocial approach to compare dyads with externalizing dysregulation (N = 191) to healthy controls (N = 54) on maternal supportive regulation of children's negative and positive affect. Children were between the ages of 8 and 12 years. Mother-child dyads participated in conflict and positive discussions, and child affect and maternal supportive affect regulation were coded in real time. First, no group differences on overall levels of mother supportive regulation or child affect were found. Second, three event history analyses in a 2-level Cox hazard regression framework were used to predict the hazard rate of (a) maternal supportiveness, and of children's transitions (b) out of negative affect and (c) into positive affect. The hazard rate of maternal supportiveness, regardless of child affect, was not different between groups. However, as expected, the likelihood of mothers' supportive responses to children's negative affect was lower in externalizing than comparison dyads. In addition, children with externalizing problems were significantly less likely than typically developing children to transition out of negative affect in response to maternal supportiveness. The likelihood of both typically developing children and children with externalizing problems transitioning into positive affect were not related to specific occurrences of maternal supportiveness. Results of the current study show the importance of temporal dynamics in mother-child interactions in the emergence of children's externalizing problems.
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