Impact of a Behavioral Parenting Intervention in Infancy on Maternal Emotion Socialization

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Research has demonstrated the effect of parent emotion socialization on later child emotion development and behavior. Given these findings, the goal of the present study was to examine the effect of an early parenting intervention on a component of emotion socialization: parent emotion talk. We also examined the indirect effect of behaviorally-based parenting skills on the relation between the intervention and parent emotion talk. Participants were 58 mothers and their 12- to 15-month-old infant. Families were randomly assigned to standard pediatric primary care or a brief in-home intervention targeting parenting skills to promote positive infant behavior. Families completed assessments at baseline, post-intervention, and a 3-month follow-up. Assessments included a 10-min infant-led play task, which was coded for parent emotion talk. Results demonstrated a significant effect of the intervention on parent emotion talk. Specifically, mothers in the intervention group displayed a higher frequency of parent emotion talk at post-intervention. Indirect effects of behaviorally-based parenting skills were significant, demonstrating that increases in behaviorally-based parenting skills at the post-intervention led to increases in parent emotion talk at the follow-up. Findings highlight the effect of a brief, home-based behavioral parenting intervention with infants on maternal emotion socialization.