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ERIC Number: EJ1085844
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
You Get What You Get and You Don't Throw a Fit!: Emotion Socialization and Child Physiology Jointly Predict Early Prosocial Development
Scrimgeour, Meghan B.; Davis, Elizabeth L.; Buss, Kristin A.
Developmental Psychology, v52 n1 p102-116 Jan 2016
Prosocial behavior in early childhood is a precursor to later adaptive social functioning. This investigation leveraged mother-reported, physiological, and observational data to examine children's prosocial development from age 2 to age 4 (N = 125). Maternal emotion socialization (ES) strategies and children's parasympathetic regulation have each been implicated in prosocial behavior, but are rarely examined together or prospectively. Given the transactional nature of parent-child relationships, the effects of maternal ES strategies on children's prosocial behavior are likely moderated by children's individual differences in parasympathetic regulation. As expected, mothers' reported use of problem-focused ES strategies predicted prosocial behavior at age 4. Additionally, children who showed parasympathetic reactivity consistent with more effective emotion regulation during a lab-based disappointment task were rated as more prosocial at age 4. Several interactions with maternal ES strategies emerged. Children's parasympathetic regulation moderated the relations between observed physical comfort or cognitive reframing and prosocial behavior. Observed distraction (either behavioral or cognitive) moderated the link between mothers' reported use of problem-focused ES strategies and children's prosocial behavior. Findings suggest that children's emerging prosocial behavior is shaped by the interactive contributions of interpersonal maternal ES as well as intrapersonal intrinsic physiological regulation.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health (DHHS/NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: MH67797; MH075750