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Maternal Attachment Status, Mother-Child Emotion Talk, Emotion Understanding, and Child Conduct Problems

Child Development Research
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Conduct problems that emerge in childhood often persist into adolescence and are associated with a range of negative outcomes. It is therefore important to identify the factors that predict conduct problems in early childhood. The present study investigated the relations among maternal attachment status, mother-child emotion talk, child emotion understanding, and conduct problems in a sample of 92 (46 males) typically developing children (M age = 61.3 months, SD = 8.3 months). The results support a model in which maternal attachment status predicts the level of appropriate/responsive mother-child emotion talk, which predicts child emotion understanding, which in turn negatively predicts child conduct problems. These findings further underline the developmental role of mother-child emotion talk as well as the importance of involving parents in programs designed to increase children’s emotion understanding and/or decrease the incidence of conduct problems.

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