The Effects of Maternal Characteristics on Adolescent Emotion Regulation

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Virginia Tech


Emotion regulation is an important skill to acquire during childhood, as an inability to do so can lead to negative outcomes such as aggression, anxiety, eating disorders, and personality disorders during adolescence. Much research has demonstrated that maternal factors play a role in childhood emotion regulation; however, little research has looked at how these factors might predict emotion regulation during adolescence. Therefore, my thesis study assessed how maternal personality, parenting behaviors, and emotion regulation during middle childhood and adolescence predicted adolescent emotion regulation. Specifically, I hypothesized that maternal parenting behaviors during middle childhood would positively predict adolescent cognitive reappraisal, that this association would be moderated by maternal intrapersonal and interpersonal personality, and that maternal cognitive reappraisal during middle childhood would positively predict adolescent cognitive reappraisal. Participants included 122 mother-child dyads who provided data on parenting and maternal emotion regulation when the children were 9-years-old, in addition to data on child emotion regulation, maternal emotion regulation, and maternal personality when the children were adolescents. My initial hypotheses were not supported by the data, but post-hoc analyses revealed that maternal emotion suppression during middle childhood and adolescence predicts adolescent emotion suppression and that this association between maternal emotion suppression during middle childhood and adolescent emotion suppression was moderated by maternal intrapersonal personality. These results support the idea that maternal characteristics continue to play a role in shaping emotion regulation in children through adolescence, but not in the manner I had originally predicted.



emotion regulation, adolescence, maternal characteristics