Latina mothers' emotion socialization and their children's emotion knowledge

Alyssa I. Pintar Breen, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Ronit Kahana-Kalman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated whether “supportive” and “nonsupportive” dimensions of emotion socialization, commonly identified in studies of European American mothers, were applicable to a low-income sample of Mexican and Dominican immigrant mothers (N = 112) in the United States, and if so, whether these dimensions related to child emotion knowledge. Exploratory factor analysis was applied to an adapted version of a widely used questionnaire of maternal responses to children's negative emotions (The Coping with Children's Negative Emotions Questionnaire, CCNES; Fabes, Eisenberg, & Bernzweig,). Children's (mean age = 5.08 years, SD =.11) emotion knowledge was assessed through play-based vignettes and a task in which children labelled the emotions on pictures of faces. A two-factor solution on the CCNES aligned with the “supportive” and “nonsupportive” dimensions of prior studies. Mothers' supportive responses related to greater child expressive emotion knowledge. Nonsupportive responses did not relate to child expressive emotion knowledge. The benefits of supportive emotion socialization seen in European American families generalize to Latina American immigrant mothers, but the negative effects of what is considered to be “nonsupportive” in European American mothers might not apply. Highlights: Do the terms “supportive” and “nonsupportive” emotion socialization represent Latina immigrant mothers, and do these dimensions of parenting relate to their children's emotion language? Mothers reported on their emotion socialization practices while children's emotion language was assessed with a play-based task. We found that mothers' responses represented “supportive” and “nonsupportive” dimensions and that only supportive responses, not nonsupportive, predicted better emotion language among children. Perhaps “nonsupportive” emotion socialization may operate differently among Latino American families than compared to European American families; the interpretation of what is “nonsupportive” among Latino families merits further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2077
JournalInfant and Child Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Latina mothers
  • emotion knowledge
  • emotion socialization
  • socioemotional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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