Date Awarded

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Janice L. Zeman

Committee Member

Christopher Conway

Committee Member

Jennifer Cross


Emotion socialization is the process through which individuals learn acceptable forms of emotional expression within their particular social contexts. Although it is widely recognized that peers are a critical influence on adolescent development, most research on emotion socialization has examined parental influences on their children’s emotions (Zeman et al., 2013) with little attention paid to how friends socialize each other’s emotions. One form of emotion socialization occurs in the responses to emotional disclosures. Initial evidence indicates that specific friend emotion socialization responses to negative emotions are related to adolescents' own psychological functioning, concurrently and longitudinally (Klimes-Dougan et al., 2014). However, research has not explored possible mechanisms that might explain this link. The current study examines the longitudinal relation between friend socialization responses to negative emotions and adolescents' internalizing symptoms (i.e., anxiety and depressive symptoms) through the mediator, emotion regulation, and how this relation differs between girls and boys. Data were collected at two time points (M = 23 months apart) from 139 youth (T1, Mage = 12.66 years; T2, Mage = 14.50 years, 54.5% female, 77.0% White). Youth responded to questions about the socialization responses they typically receive from a close friend, anxiety and depressive symptoms, emotion regulation abilities, and friendship quality. Moderated mediational analyses were conducted using the Process macro for SPSS (Hayes, 2013). Results indicated that specific types of supportive, but not unsupportive, emotion socialization responses were prospectively related to anxiety symptoms and emotion regulation, and these relations differed between girls and boys. For boys, greater expectations of receiving supportive Reward and Override responses were related to stronger emotion regulation, and greater expectations of receiving supportive Magnify responses were related to increased anxiety symptoms. However, unsupportive socialization strategies did not predict anxiety symptoms, and no emotion socialization responses predicted depressive symptoms. Lastly, stronger emotion regulation was associated with decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms in all models even after controlling for T1 anxiety, depression, and friendship quality. These findings provide further evidence that friend emotion socialization responses are related to adolescents' functioning over time and these relations differ between girls and boys.



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