Parental socialization of children’s sadness was examined through self-report, spouse report, and a parent–child sadness discussion task. A total of 79 two-parent, predominantly White, middle-class families participated with one child in grades 2–5 (44 sons; M = 9 years, 8 months). Analyses revealed that mothers and fathers respond differently to their sons’ and daughters’ expressions of sadness. Based on spouse report, mothers provide more support for their sons’ sadness expressivity, whereas fathers provide more support for their daughters’ sadness expressivity. Agreement between self-report and spouse report was observed for fathers but not mothers. Concordance between parents’ socialization practices was found for self-reports of supportive behaviors. For both parents, the strongest predictor of observed sadness support was spouse report of supportiveness. Results are discussed with implications for emotion-socialization processes and emotion assessment highlighted.
Cassano, Michael C.; Zeman, Janice L.; and Sanders, Wesley M.
"Responses to Children's Sadness: Mothers' and Fathers' Unique Contributions and Perceptions,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 60
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol60/iss1/2