Maternal Emotional Responsiveness and Toddlers’ Social-Emotional Competence

Author: Denham, S.A.

Description: This study investigated, via extended naturalistic observation: (a) how mothers and children responded emotionally to each other’s emotional displays; and (b) whether ratings of the child’s social-emotional competence (made when the mother was absent) could be predicted by specific maternal responses to the child’s emotions. Subjects were 28 mother-toddler pairs. Sequential analyses suggested that emotional dialogue does exist between mothers and children: certain emotional responses of mothers and children occurred more often than expected by their base rate during interaction. Maternal responsiveness to child sadness, anger, fear and neutrality predicted dimensions of children’s social-emotional competence. Implications regarding the mother-child affective environment, socialization of emotion and social competency, and developmental methodology are discussed.

Subject Headings: Emotional responsiveness; Toddlers; Social-emotional competencies

Keywords: Maternal Emotional Responsiveness and Toddlers’ Social-Emotional Competence

Publication year: 1993

Journal or book title: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Volume: 34

Issue: 5

Pages: 715-728

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2477