Parental emotion socialization in adolescence: Differences in sex, age and problem status

Bonnie Klimes-Dougan, Ann E. Brand, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, Barbara Usher, Paul D. Hastings, Kimberly Kendziora, Rula B. Garside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


There is a paucity of research on how mothers and fathers socialize emotion in their adolescent sons and daughters. This study was based on 220 adolescents (range 11- to 16-years-old) who exhibit a range of emotional and behavioral problems and their parents. Parental responses to their children's displays of sadness, anger and fear were assessed. Mothers were found to be more engaged in their children's emotional lives than were fathers. With a few important exceptions (e.g., boys were punished for expressions of anger more than girls), adolescent girls and boys were socialized in much the same way. Parents of older adolescents were generally less supportive and more punitive toward emotional displays. Systematic links between adolescent problem status and parent approaches to emotion socialization were found. These findings on how parents socialize emotions in their adolescents have important implications for theory as well as practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-342
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Adolescence
  • Emotion
  • Parents
  • Socialization


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