NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ854151
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1062-1024
Mothers' Empathic Understanding of Their Toddlers: Associations with Maternal Depression and Sensitivity
Coyne, Lisa W.; Low, Christine M.; Miller, Alison L.; Seifer, Ronald; Dickstein, Susan
Journal of Child and Family Studies, v16 n4 p483-497 Aug 2007
Mothers' empathic understanding of their children's motives, thoughts, and feelings is thought to guide parenting behaviors and shape the mother-child relationship. However, little is known about the relation between empathic understanding and parenting behaviors during developmental shifts that may be emotionally challenging for mothers, such as the transition from infancy to the toddler years, or how it may relate to maternal depressive symptoms. We assessed relations between maternal empathic understanding, depression, and sensitivity. We developed a coding system, the Empathic Understanding Assessment (EUA), to measure this construct in the mothers of 30-month old children. One hundred twenty eight mother-child pairs participated in a series of lab-based tasks designed to be challenging for the children. Mothers then watched these videotaped interactions and responded to questions regarding their children's experiences. Interview content was coded using the EUA. Results indicated that mothers higher in empathic understanding and more intensely emotional were rated as more sensitive. Maternal depression was negatively related to empathic understanding. The importance of considering the role of maternal empathic understanding in parenting behavior is discussed, as are potential implications for child outcomes.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A