The Relations of Maternal Practices and Characteristics to Children's Vicarious Emotional Responsiveness

Nancy Eisenberg, Richard Fabes, G. Carlo, D. Troyer, A. L. Speer, M. Karbon, G. Switzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


This study examined the relations of maternal vicarious emotional responding and child‐rearing practices, as well as familial emotional environment, to 5–6 and 8–9‐year‐old children's vicarious emotional responding. There were some correspondences between mothers' and children's heart rate, facial, and self‐reported reactions to a sympathy‐inducing film. Maternal sympathy/perspective taking and reinforcement of sympathy/prosocial behavior, as well as negative subordinate emotion in the home, were associated with markers of girls' sympathy; mothers' personal distress (for girls), restrictiveness regarding displays of hurtful negative emotions (particularly for young girls), and negative dominant emotion in the home (for both sexes) were associated with markers of personal distress. Mothers' linking of the film character's experience to children's own experience was associated with children's responsiveness to the film, and mother's verbalizations during the film concerning her own emotional state and role taking were associated with boys' self‐reported sympathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-602
Number of pages20
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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