Emotion framing: Does it relate to children's emotion knowledge and social behavior?

Malinda J. Colwell, Sybil Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study examined the associations between maternal emotion framing and mother-child relationship quality and children's emotional and social competence. Sixty-one mothers and their preschool children (33 boys) completed dyadic and individual measures. Observations were made of mother-child synchrony and maternal emotion framing. Children's emotion understanding and receptive vocabulary was assessed via individual interviews. Teachers reported on children's social skills. Results show that maternal emotion framing, particularly mildly positive framing, significantly contributes to children's emotion understanding. Children in higher quality relationships with their mothers had better emotion understanding. Therefore, support was found for the roles of relationship quality and maternal emotion framing in children's emotional competence. Unexpectedly, fewer significant associations were found between maternal emotion framing, synchrony and children's social competence. The implications of examining emotion framing and relationship quality as correlates of children's emotional and social competence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-603
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006


  • Emotion framing
  • Preschoolers' emotional competence
  • Preschoolers' social competence
  • Synchrony


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