Date Thesis Awarded

12-2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Janice Zeman (chair)

Committee Members

Chris Conway

Dana Lashley

Abstract

Emotional development in adolescence, including the processes of emotion regulation and emotional expressiveness, is linked to a wide range of behavioral and psychological outcomes (Saarni, 1999; Thompson, 1994). Parental emotion socialization responses (supportive and unsupportive) is one mechanism that influences adolescent emotional functioning with implications for psychological adaptation (Garside & Klimes-Dougan, 2002). The present investigation explored the construct of reluctance to express emotion in adolescence, an area that has received relatively little attention but may be related to internalizing symptomatology. Participants were 160 parent-adolescent dyads (74.4% mothers; 58.8% girls,= 12.5 years, 78.1% Caucasian) who were mostly upper middle class. Groups of adolescents with high and typical levels of reluctance to express negative emotions were identified using latent class analysis. Analyses examined Group X Gender effects with types of emotion socialization responses and internalizing psychopathology symptoms as the dependent variables. Parents reported more validating responses for adolescents who had more typical emotional reluctance than adolescents who were highly reluctant to express negative emotions. With respect to specific emotion types, parents reported more magnification of anger in the typical reluctance group than the high reluctance group. Additionally, parents reported more magnification of sadness for daughters than for sons. Adolescents in the high reluctance to express emotions group reported greater levels of depression and loneliness symptoms than the typical emotional reluctance group. These results suggest important relations among adolescent emotional expressiveness, parental emotion socialization practices, adolescent gender, and psychopathology symptoms. Clinical implications of these findings for adolescent psychological interventions and future research directions are discussed.

Available for download on Thursday, December 17, 2020

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