We examined the relations between preschool boys' behavior problems and mothers' interpretations of children's emotion expressions. A sample of 31 mothers of oppositional boys and 28 control mothers responded to standard stimuli depicting child emotional reactions to maternal control attempts; mothers were instructed to think of the stimuli as either (a) their own child or (b) an unfamiliar child. Mothers of oppositional boys were more likely to generate negative interpretations than were control mothers when thinking of their own children; however, this difference did not generalize to the explicitly unfamiliar child condition. Mothers of oppositional boys demonstrated negative and comparison mothers demonstrated positive interpretive tendencies toward their own children. Findings suggest that child emotion cues may trigger biased maternal cognitions even in the absence of child misbehavior.
- Behavior problems
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health