Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy E Root

Committee Co-Chair

Amy Gentzler

Committee Member

Suzanne Hartman


The purpose of the present study was to examine the maternal socialization of disappointment and its impact on prosocial behavior. In a structured laboratory observation, sixty-five preschool aged children and their mothers underwent a disappointment task. The mothers (M = 34.27 years) completed two questionnaires to assess response to disappointment and children's frequency to prosocial behavior. Maternal observed behaviors of negative affect were positively associated with higher maternal reports of prosocial behavior in children. Also, mothers who reported using problem-focused responses to children's disappointment reported having children who were more prosocial. There were also significant gender differences. Mothers of sons only had significant findings when using problem-focused responses. While mothers of daughters saw the same results yielded from the full sample. Mothers also spent more time engaged with daughters during times of disappointment than with sons. These findings take previous research one step further by focusing on a new aspect of disappointment and by examining the socialization of a specific emotion. The findings generated from this study can be used in real world applications to help mothers teach children to perspective take and be more prosocial towards others.