Parental conditional regard as a predictor of deficiencies in young children's capacities to respond to sad feelings

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Abstract

This study explored the relationship between parents' use of conditional regard (PCR, Assor, Roth, & Deci, 2004; Roth, 2008) to promote suppression of sad feelings and the following emotional skills in young children: (1) recognition of sadness in facial expressions, (2) awareness of sad feelings in oneself, and (3) empathic response to others' sad feelings. The study distinguished between two PCR components: conditional negative regard (similar to love withdrawal) and conditional positive regard. Emotion-focused interviews were conducted with 102 children aged 5-6 years, and their parents completed questionnaires assessing parents' use of conditional regard. As expected, both PCR components correlated negatively with the emotional skills. Regression analyses showed that the seemingly benign practice of conditional positive regard had unique negative associations with the three emotional skills also when effects of negative PCR were controlled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-477
Number of pages13
JournalInfant and Child Development
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2010

Keywords

  • Emotion suppression
  • Parental conditional regard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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