Parental Emotion Socialization and Adult Outcomes: The Relationships Between Parental Supportiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Trait Anxiety

Abstract

Despite the burgeoning interest in the relationships between parental emotion socialization practices, emotion regulation (ER), and anxiety in youth, there is considerably less research focusing on the ways in which parental emotion socialization in childhood is associated with these variables in adulthood. A sample of 202 university students completed an online survey, which aimed to examine the relationships between retrospective reports of parental emotion socialization strategies in childhood, ER in adulthood, and trait anxiety. Adult perceptions of their parents’ use of unsupportive emotion socialization strategies in childhood was related to lower levels of ER skills and greater use of maladaptive ER strategies in adulthood, while perceptions of parents’ use of supportive strategies were related to higher levels of ER skills and greater use of adaptive ER strategies. Together, adult perceptions of unsupportive parental emotion socialization strategies in childhood and their ER skills and ER strategy use in adulthood predicted trait anxiety.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant awarded to Dr. Tina Montreuil. Ms. Cabecinha-Alati and Ms. O’Hara are both supported by a Master’s and Doctoral Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Scholarships. Ms. Heather Kennedy was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Master’s Scholarship.

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Cabecinha-Alati, S., O’Hara, G., Kennedy, H. et al. Parental Emotion Socialization and Adult Outcomes: The Relationships Between Parental Supportiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Trait Anxiety. J Adult Dev 27, 268–280 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-019-09340-1

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Keywords

  • Emotion socialization
  • Emotion regulation
  • Trait anxiety