Cross-Cultural Differences in the Determinants of Maternal Emotion Coaching: Role of Maternal Emotional Awareness and Emotion Regulation
Despite many positive outcomes associated with emotion coaching, factors related to individual differences in emotion coaching have yet to be explored. The current study examined cultural differences in the role of maternal characteristics, specifically emotional awareness and emotion regulation, as determinants of emotion coaching. These findings will facilitate culturally desired emotion socialization practices leading to optimal emotional development of children.
In the current study, I translated two English-based questionnaires into Chinese to assess maternal emotional awareness and emotion coaching. Next, I examined relations of reappraisal, suppression, and emotional awareness to maternal emotion coaching. I also investigated the role of maternal emotional awareness as a mediator in the relation of maternal use of reappraisal and suppression to maternal emotion coaching in both Chinese and American cultures.
Participants included American (n=164) and 163 Chinese (n=163) mothers. Maternal emotional awareness was measured using subscales of Toronto Alexithymia Scale 20 and Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. Emotion regulation strategies were assessed using Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. To measure emotion coaching, mothers completed Parents' Beliefs about Children's Emotions questionnaire. Structural equation models were estimated to examine how maternal emotional awareness and emotion regulation related to emotion coaching.
Results confirmed the reliability and validity of the Chinese questionnaires. Maternal emotion coaching did not include mothers' views about negative emotions because equivalence could not be established across Chinese and American cultures; therefore, the emotion coaching discussed in this study is different from previous research on emotion coaching that typically involves responses to negative emotions. Maternal emotional awareness was associated with their emotion coaching in both samples and the strength of the association was not different across cultures. However, relations of reappraisal and suppression to emotional awareness and emotion coaching were different across Chinese and American samples. Emotional awareness mediated the relation of reappraisal to emotion coaching only in the American sample. Additionally, emotional awareness was a mediator of the relation of suppression to emotion coaching in both samples. Overall, the findings of this study supported that maternal emotional awareness and use of emotion regulation strategies are important determinants of maternal emotion coaching in both cultures.