Culture and Brain

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 172–189 | Cite as

Savoring or dampening? Maternal reactions to children’s positive emotions in cultural contexts

  • Qingfang SongEmail author
  • Yang Yang
  • Stacey N. Doan
  • Qi Wang
Original Research Article


This study examined in cultural contexts maternal reactions to children’s positive emotions and the relations to children’s socio-emotional outcomes. European American (EA) and Chinese immigrant (CI) mothers reported their reactions to children’s (N = 117, M = 7.14 years) positive emotions. Children were interviewed for emotion knowledge and mothers rated children’s psychological adjustment. CI mothers reported to use emotion dampening reactions more than did EA mothers. Whereas maternal savoring reactions were associated with better adaptive adjustment across cultures, maternal dampening reactions were negatively associated with children’s emotion knowledge at marginal significance for EA but not for CI children. The findings shed critical light on the functional meaning of parental emotion socialization practices for shaping developmental outcomes in specific cultural contexts.


Emotion socialization Culture Emotion knowledge Psychological adjustment 



This research was supported by Grant BCS-0721171 from the National Science Foundation to Qi Wang. We thank members of the Cornell Culture & Social Cognition Lab for their assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qingfang Song
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yang Yang
    • 2
  • Stacey N. Doan
    • 3
  • Qi Wang
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Applied Human SciencesWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.National Institute of EducationSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Claremont McKenna CollegeClaremontUSA
  4. 4.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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