Emotion abilities in depressed Latina mothers and their children
Sesin, Maria Carmen
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This study focused on depressed and non-depressed Latina mothers, and their children's abilities to recognize and produce emotions. Subjects included two groups, 20 depressed and 20 non-depressed mothers and their children ages 6--11, that were matched on age, sex and SES. For the recognition task all subjects were presented with 40 photos of children displaying 10 different emotions including 5 basic emotions (happy, sad, mad, scared and okay) and five mixed emotions (sad/mad, mad/okay, sad/okay, scared/okay and blends), and subjects judged the emotions being displayed from five emotion choices (happy, sad, mad, scared, okay). For the production task subjects were asked to produce two photographed examples of five basic emotions. Mothers in the study also completed the Beck Depression Inventory in order to obtain a level of depression.;Results revealed that depressed mothers were significantly worse than non-depressed mothers at recognizing basic emotions and some of the mixed emotions (mad/okay and scared/okay). Furthermore, depressed mothers were worse at producing sad expressions than non-depressed mothers. In contrast, few differences were found between the children of depressed and non-depressed mothers. One difference, however, w as that in recognizing sad/mad emotions, children of depressed mothers tended to select sadness more and anger less than the children of non-depressed mothers. More extensive differences emerged in younger (6--8 1/2 years of age) and older (8 1/2--11 years of age) children's emotion abilities. Older children were better at recognizing anger and fear, as well as sad/okay, mad/okay, and scared/okay mixes than younger children. In addition, however, younger children recognized sadness better than older children. Children's production abilities depended on both their age and gender. Younger and older boys did not differ, but older girls were better than younger girls at posing emotions. Finally, only a few connections were found between mothers, and children's emotion abilities. Discussion focused on the pervasive nature of depressed mothers' emotion deficits and possible explanations for why these differences seemed to have only minor impact on their children, as well as on the role of cultural influences subjects' emotion abilities.