Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Elisa Krackow

Committee Co-Chair

Melissa Latimer

Committee Member

Cheryl McNeill

Committee Member

Julie H Patrick

Committee Member

Constance Toffle


This study examined how mothers (N = 24) socialized emotions in their 7- to 10-year-old children during conversations about past positive and negative events. Mothers completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) to rate the extent to which they experienced negative and positive affect. Conversations were coded for content, themes, mothers' and children's narrative strategies, life lessons, and statements that foster self-esteem. These patterns are discussed across mothers and children. Mothers and their children were collaborative in their discussions of past emotional events. That is, they tended to emphasize similar narrative processes during their conversations, regardless of emotional valence. Conversations also were coded for mothers' approach of emotions and event details, which then were correlated with mothers' affect levels. There were no significant findings for happy conversations. Mothers with higher (i.e., a little) negative affect tended to socialize their children to be less detail-focused when discussing past negative events. Maternal affect was only related to mothers' amount of speaking during happy conversations, with mothers with higher positive affect using fewer conversational exchanges. Overall, the strategies that mothers in this dissertation used during the conversations with their children tend to enhance children's social competence development (e.g., modeling, coaching, reacting; Denham, 1998). The children in this dissertation displayed skills that are associated with success in multiple socioemotional domains (e.g., identify and discuss causes and consequences for their and others' emotions; Fivush, Reese, & Haden, 2006). These data were collected as part of a faculty member's ongoing project.