Risk, Vulnerability, and Protective Processes of Parental Expressed Emotion for Children’s Peer Relationships in Contexts of Parental Violence

Angela J. Narayan, Julianna K. Sapienza, Amy R. Monn, Katherine A. Lingras, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined risk, vulnerability, and protective processes of parental expressed emotion for children’s peer relationships in families living in emergency shelters with high rates of exposure to parental violence (EPV). Parental criticism and negativity were hypothesized to exacerbate the association between EPV and poorer peer relations, whereas parental warmth was expected to buffer this association. Participants included 138 homeless parents (M = 30.77 years, SD = 6.33, range = 20.51–57.32 years; 64% African American, 12% Caucasian, 24% other) and their 4-to 6-year-old children (43.5% male; M = 4.83, SD = .58, range = 4.83–6.92 years; 67% African American, 2% Caucasian, 31% other). Families were assessed during the summer at three urban shelters, with parents completing the Five-Minute Speech Sample (FMSS), later scored for criticism, negativity, and warmth, and interview items about EPV. Teachers were subsequently contacted in the fall about children’s classroom behavior, and they provided ratings of peer relations. Demographic factors, parental internalizing symptoms, and observed parental harshness were examined as covariates. Regression analyses indicated an interaction of EPV and warmth, consistent with a moderating effect of expressed emotion for EPV and peer relations, although no interactions were found for criticism or negativity. Observed harshness also directly predicted worse peer relations. Parental warmth may be protective for positive peer relations among impoverished families with high levels of EPV. The FMSS is discussed as an efficient tool with potential for both basic clinical research and preventative interventions designed to target or assess change in parental expressed emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-688
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015

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