Infant and Child Development

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Volume 21 Issue 3 (May/June 2012), Pages 1-324

Maternal Expressive Style and Children's Emotional Development (pages 267-286)

Maternal expressive styles, based on a combination of positive and negative expressive patterns, were identified at two points in time and related to multiple aspects of preschool children's emotional development. Mother–child pairs from 260 families participated when the children were 3 years old, and 240 participated again at aged 4 years. Expressive styles were identified at age 3 using cluster analysis, replicated at age 4 and examined in relation to children's emotional understanding, expressiveness and regulation. Three expressive styles were identified: high positive/low negative, very low positive/average negative and average positive/very high negative. Cluster membership was stable in 63% of families from age 3 to 4 years; no systematic patterns of change were evident in the remaining families. Expressive style was related to aspects of children's emotional expression at 3 years and to emotion expression and regulation at 4 years. Children's expressiveness and regulation at age 3 were also related to changes in mothers' expressive styles over 1 year. Identifying mothers' expressive styles provides a unique way to understand the potential role of the emotional climates in which preschool‐aged children learn to express and regulate their own emotions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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