Maternal Reactions to Preschoolers’ Negative Emotions and Aggression: Gender Difference in Mediation of Emotion Regulation

  • Bo Lim Suh
  • Min Ju KangEmail author
Original Paper



The present study examined the indirect effect of emotion regulation in the relationship between Maternal Reactions to Preschoolers’ Negative Emotions (MRPNE) and aggression, and explored the gender difference in this mediational mechanism.


We used questionnaires to survey 271 dyads of four- to five-year-olds and their mothers. To measure the research variables, Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scales (CCNES), Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC), and Preschool Social Behavior Scale-Teacher Form (PSBS-TF) were used. SPSS 24.0 and Mplus 5.12 were used to analyze.


Preschoolers’ emotion regulation was found to mediate the relationship between supportive/non-supportive maternal reaction to preschoolers’ negative emotions and aggression. A significant gender difference was observed. In the case of boys, only non-supportive maternal reaction showed a significant effect on preschoolers’ aggression via emotion regulation, and the indirect effect was significantly higher. In the case of girls, both supportive and non-supportive maternal reactions showed a significant effect.


These findings suggest that the effect of maternal emotion-related parenting behaviors may differ by gender. Thus, gender differences should be considered when developing intervention and prevention programs for preschoolers’ aggression.


Supportive/Non-supportive maternal reactions to preschoolers’ negative emotions Emotion socialization Emotion regulation Aggression Gender difference 


Author Contributions

B.L.S. designed the study, collected and analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. M.J.K. collaborated with the conceptualization of the study, provided feedback in data analyses and interpreting, contributed on revising and editing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Yonsei University, the Center for Research Ethics Information in Korea, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Mothers and teachers were provided with written information about the study and informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study before the survey started.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Life Research CenterYonsei UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Child & Family StudiesYonsei UniversitySeoulKorea

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