Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Maternal Warmth and Synchrony of Facial Displays of Affect During Mother-Child Interactions
by Foster, Claire, M.S., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2019, 40; 13880122
Abstract (Summary)

Early patterns of parent-child interaction have wide-reaching implications for child development. One component of positive parenting behavior in particular, parental warmth, is associated with frequent positive parent-child interactions, and more adaptive expression and regulation of positive affect in children. However, little is known about how broader patterns of maternal warmth may impact real-time interactions between mothers and school-aged children. The goals of the current study were to examine the relation between levels of maternal warmth and (i) mothers' and school-aged children's expressions of both positive and negative affect during positively- and negatively-valenced interactions, (ii) the synchrony between mothers' and children's expression of affect during both these interactions, and (iii) the impact of synchrony on changes in state sadness across each interaction. Three hundred thirty-six children ages 7-11 years and their biological mothers participated in a Discussion Paradigm in which they completed a positive (Vacation Planning) and negative (Issues Discussion) mother-child interaction. Facial electromyography (EMG) continuously recorded during those tasks, and self-reported state affect collected before and after each task were used to index mother and child affect. We found that although maternal warmth was not associated with the degree to which mothers and children smiled or frowned during either discussion as indexed by facial EMG, higher levels of maternal warmth were significantly associated with lower levels of self-reported maternal sadness across the Discussion Paradigm. Furthermore, although maternal warmth was not associated with the overall degree of EMG synchrony during the interactions, it did moderate the impact of zygomaticus synchrony on changes in state sadness from before to after the Vacation Planning task, suggesting that it may serve as a protective factor against negative affective outcomes (i.e., increases in sadness) associated with low mother-child affective synchrony during interactions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gibb, Brandon E.
Commitee: Balderrama-Durbin, Christina, Coles, Meredith
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: MAI 58/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Clinical psychology
Publication Number: 13880122
ISBN: 978-1-392-29050-7
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