Independent and interdependent self-construals as moderators of links between parents' beliefs about emotions and their emotion socialization behaviors in Chinese families
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To identify potential determinants of emotion socialization (ES) in the socio-cultural context, the current study examined a moderated mediation model whereby parents’ independent and interdependent self-construals were proposed to moderate associations of parents’ beliefs about children’s emotions with parents’ ES, which in turn relate to children’s social competence. Seventy-five Chinese parents (65 mothers, 10 fathers) with children in middle childhood (43 girls, 32 boys; Mage=9.18, SD=1.26) completed translated Chinese versions of the Parents’ Beliefs about Children’s Emotions Questionnaire, the Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale, the Parental Reactions to Children’s Positive Emotions Scale, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, the Self-Construal Scale, and a demographic questionnaire. Measurements were modified to include ego-focused and other-focused positive and negative emotions (i.e., pride, warmth, anger, and shame/guilt). Bivariate correlations, hierarchical multiple regressions, and exploratory analyses using the PROCESS macro were conducted. Parents endorsed both independent and interdependent self-construals, and on average reported significantly higher interdependent than independent self-construals. Chinese parents’ endorsement of independent self-construal may make their beliefs about ego-focused emotions more salient, thereby inducing ES responses aligned with their beliefs. Parents’ interdependent self-construal was related to their ES to other-focused emotions. Chinese parents’ nonsupportive reactions to children’s anger and pride were related to children’s social competence, which suggests that the inhibition of emotions may have some adaptive functions in Chinese society. Overall, findings contributed to the understanding of parental ES in Chinese families and emphasized the role of parents’ self-construal as an individual-level indicator of cultural values in the ES process.
General Audience Abstract
Centered around the process through which parents socialize children’s social and emotional competence (emotion socialization, ES), the current study examined how parents’ beliefs about children’s emotions associated with their ES reactions, how their beliefs together with their perceptions of self (self-construal) related to their ES reactions, and how their ES reactions associated with their children’s behaviors in a Chinese sample. Seventy-five Chinese parents (65 mothers, 10 fathers) with children from 7- to 11-year-old (43 girls, 32 boys) completed Chinese versions of questionnaires about their beliefs about children’s emotions, their ES reactions, their self-construal, their perceptions of children’s behaviors, and some demographic information. The associations aforementioned were tested. Chinese parents perceived themselves as both unique entities (independent self-construal) and connected with others (interdependent self-construal), with a higher level of interdependent self-construal. Parents’ endorsement of independent self-construal may spotlight their beliefs about children’s pride and anger, which in turn induce more ES reactions that are consistent with their beliefs. Parents’ interdependent self-construal was related to their ES reactions to children’s feelings of love and shame/guilt. Parents’ nonsupportive reactions to children’s anger and pride were related to children’s higher competence, which suggests that Chinese society may endorse the inhibition of emotions. Overall, findings contributed to the understanding of cross-cultural differences of parental ES between American and Chinese families and the impact of their perceptions of self on their ES reactions.
- Masters Theses