Emotion socialization and the relation between parental depression and children's externalizing and internalizing problems

Jaclyn Lauren Balkan, Fordham University


Parental depression and emotion socialization, and the impact of their relationship on preschool children's behavior problems, has not been extensively studied. Given that children, from minority, disadvantaged backgrounds are at familial and socio-cultural risk for behavioral problems, this is an important area of research. This study proposed a risk-resilience model to investigate the roles of parental depression and emotion socialization on externalizing and internalizing problems in primarily Afro Caribbean and African American preschool-age children from urban, disadvantaged neighborhoods. Moreover, emotion socialization was examined as a protective factor moderating the negative effects of parental depression on externalizing and internalizing problems. Different patterns by children's gender in these relationships were considered. Hierarchical regression model results revealed that the individual contributions of parental depression, emotion socialization, and the interaction between these variables at the start of prekindergarten, did not contribute significantly to externalizing or internalizing problems at the end of prekindergarten. Similar patterns emerged for boys and girls. Emotion socialization, therefore, did not function as a protective factor. The control variables, externalizing and internalizing problem at baseline, contributed the most in driving the significance of the models. Non-significant findings may, in part, be attributed to limitations such as sample homogeneity, restricted range of scores, and under-reporting of clinical levels. Adjustment of these limitations with further examination of additional familial protective factors on diverse samples is warranted to help inform prevention and intervention practices.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Educational psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Balkan, Jaclyn Lauren, "Emotion socialization and the relation between parental depression and children's externalizing and internalizing problems" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3517891.