Parent's emotional expressiveness and child, parent, and family functioning

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Marilyn Montgomery

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

William Kurtines

Third Advisor's Name

Jacob Gewirtz

Date of Defense



This study investigated associations between parents' expressed emotion during a series of play tasks with their child, and psychological assessments of parent, child, and family functioning. Parent and child dyads included 41 families with a child between ages 4 and 12 who sought a developmental assessment at the Youth and Family Development Program laboratory at Florida International University. Videotaped dyadic play tasks were rated, using an Emotional Expressiveness Rating Scale (EERS) developed for this study, for parents' communication of criticism, hostility, emotional over-involvement, indifference, and warmth toward their child. Associations between parent expressed emotion and parent, child, and family functioning were assessed. Negative expressed emotion in parents, particularly criticism, was correlated with externalizing child problems, high parental stress, and family conflict; parent warmth was correlated with parents' feeling rewarded by their child, and with family cohesion. The implications for mental health research and practice with parents and children are discussed.



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