Reports of Maternal Socialization Goals, Emotion Socialization Behaviors, and Child Functioning in China and India
A body of literature connects parental emotion socialization behaviors to child outcomes, though little research attention has been devoted to parents’ culturally embedded socialization goals that influence their socialization behaviors in diverse samples. In the present study, we examined interrelations among maternal socialization goals, emotion socialization behaviors, and child functioning in families from 2 major Asian countries, China and India. A total of 305 6th and 7th grade children and their mothers across both countries participated. Mothers completed measures of their socialization goals, their responses to children’s emotions, child behavior problems, and children completed a measure of emotion regulation (ER) at a single point in time. Factor analysis of the measure of parental responses to children’s emotions yielded 2 factors (supportive and nonsupportive responses), with some items from the commonly used parent-report measure Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale (Fabes, Eisenberg, & Bernzweig, 1990), while others reflected culturally salient socialization approaches in Asia (i.e., child training, explanation). Using these data-driven supportive and nonsupportive response composites, mediation models were tested for the full sample. Reports of mothers’ supportive responses and child ER sequentially mediated the relation between maternal relational socialization goals and child internalizing problems. Reports of child emotion dysregulation mediated the relation between maternal nonsupportive responses and child externalizing problems. Findings of this study highlight the relevance of culturally salient parental socialization goals and socialization behaviors in understanding child functioning in diverse cultural groups.