The Relation Between Adolescent Mothers' Trauma, Emotional Availability, and Children's Emotion Regulation
Abstract: Given the literature on the impact of trauma on Emotional Availability (EA) in mothers, and research on the effects of parental practices on children's emotional regulation, this study aimed to examine: 1) the relation between maternal trauma, EA, and children's emotion regulation (ER); 2) the predictive quality of emotional availability (EA) in adolescent mothers, specifically as a pred... read moreictor of their children's emotion regulation outcomes; 3) the role EA plays in moderating the relation between maternal trauma and children's emotional regulation and; 4) the role social support programs play in moderating this relation. The study emphasized the acute vulnerability of adolescent mothers exposed to various contextual risk factors affecting their children and their own development. The findings highlight the consistency of EA as a predictor of ER, and that the EA construct might display a curvilinear curve, where both "too little" and "too much" EA constitute a potentially harmful effect on the child's ability to emotionally regulate. Additionally, the findings show that EA construct scores are consistently lower on freeplay tasks than on teaching tasks, suggesting that low EA scores may be an artifact arising out of unstructured play activities in this population. Clinical observations indicate that play might be particularly triggering to mothers with trauma, and research on cross-cultural play indicates that there are various cultural differences with diverging norms and standards for play. The findings underscore the importance of trauma-informed, culturally sensitive home-visiting programs with flexible strength-based models that accommodate children and families from all kinds of contexts.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Ann Easterbrooks.
Committee: Ellen Pinderhughes, and Carmen Noroña.
Keywords: Developmental psychology, Mental health, and Social work.read less