Racial Discrimination as a Correlate of African American Mothers’ Emotion Talk to Young Children

The Family Life Project Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study was designed to test hypotheses derived from an ecological framework regarding the association between perceived racial discrimination and maternal emotion talk among a sample of 415 African American mothers living in the rural South. Mothers reported on experiences with racial discrimination when her child was 24 months old. Additionally, maternal emotion awareness was assessed by mothers’ use of emotion words during an emotion-laden picture book interaction with her young child. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that mothers’ perception of racism was a significant positive predictor of mothers’ emotion words, even after controlling for a variety of distal demographics and maternal and child characteristics. However, this main effect was qualified by significant interactions. Specifically, the strength of the association between perceived discrimination and mothers’ emotion words was reduced in the presence of maternal psychological supports, including greater life satisfaction and knowledge of child development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-996
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2014


  • emotion
  • family processes
  • mother–child interactions
  • poverty/welfare
  • race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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