Examining Mothers', Fathers' and Preschool Aged Children's Use of Internal State Language Within Emotion-Focused Conversations

  • Author / Creator
    Martinovich, Vincenza VA
  • This study examined mothers’ and fathers’ use of internal state language (ISL) within the context of an emotion-focused task with their preschool aged children. Parental differences in ISL were analyzed, as well as whether or not mothers and fathers differentiated their use of ISL depending on their perception of their child’s internalizing and externalizing difficulties. Children’s use of ISL was also examined in relation to their social-emotional functioning, as reported by their parents. Forty, two parent families and their children (20 boys, 20 girls, 3.5 – 5 years old, mean age = 4.4 years) were asked to discuss 12 cards with pictures of children’s facial expressions. Each child was videotaped in their home completing this Emotions Task once with each parent, and parent-child conversations were later transcribed and coded for type and function of ISL. Mothers and fathers also completed the Behaviour Assessment System for Children (BASC-II), providing a measure of their child’s internalizing and externalizing difficulties. Results indicated no significant differences between mothers’ and fathers’ use of ISL, nor any significant differences between males and females. While neither parent was found to differentially employ ISL depending on their perception of their child’s social-emotional functioning, the type of ISL utilized by children during conversations with their mothers was predictive of their internalizing and externalizing difficulties. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research on the development of children’s emotion knowledge and use of ISL within early childhood. Future directions, limitations, as well as implications for educators, parents, and practitioners are also presented.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • School and Clinical Child Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Rinaldi, Christina (Educational Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Rinaldi, Christina (Educational Psychology)
    • Gierl, Mark (Educational Psychology)
    • Daniels, Lia (Educational Psychology)