British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 33 Issue 1 (March 2015), Pages 1-157

Gender and age differences in parent–child emotion talk (pages 148-155)

This study examined gender differences in emotion word use during mother–child and father–child conversations. Sixty‐five Spanish mothers and fathers and their 4‐ (= 53.50, SD = 3.54) and 6‐year‐old (= 77.07, SD = 3.94) children participated in this study. Emotion talk was examined during a play‐related storytelling task and a reminiscence task (conversation about past experiences). Mothers mentioned a higher proportion of emotion words than did fathers. During the play‐related storytelling task, mothers of 4‐year‐old daughters mentioned a higher proportion of emotion words than did mothers of 4‐year‐old sons, whereas fathers of 4‐year‐old daughters directed a higher proportion of emotion words than did fathers of 4‐year‐old sons during the reminiscence task. No gender differences were found with parents of 6‐year‐old children. During the reminiscence task daughters mentioned more emotion words with their fathers than with their mothers. Finally, mothers' use of emotion talk was related to whether children used emotion talk in both tasks. Fathers' use of emotion talk was only related to children's emotion talk during the reminiscence task.

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