Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 897–911 | Cite as

Positive and Negative Family Emotional Climate Differentially Predict Youth Anxiety and Depression via Distinct Affective Pathways



A socioaffective specificity model was tested in which positive and negative affect differentially mediated relations of family emotional climate to youth internalizing symptoms. Participants were 134 7th-9th grade adolescents (65 girls; 86 % Caucasian) and mothers who completed measures of emotion-related family processes, experienced affect, anxiety, and depression. Results suggested that a family environment characterized by maternal psychological control and family negative emotion expressiveness predicted greater anxiety and depression, and was mediated by experienced negative affect. Conversely, a family emotional environment characterized by low maternal warmth and low positive emotion expressiveness predicted only depression, and was mediated through lowered experienced positive affect. This study synthesizes a theoretical model of typical family emotion socialization with an extant affect-based model of shared and unique aspects of anxiety and depression symptom expression.


Anxiety Depression Emotional climate Emotional expressiveness Warmth Psychological control Adolescent 



This research was supported by a University of Missouri Research Council Grant (URC-07-081). We thank Martha Early for assistance with project design and data collection as well as Elizabeth Kiel for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of Missouri – ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

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