The Relations Between Maternal Expressed Emotion and Children's Perceived Self-Competence, Behavior and Intelligence in African-American Families

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This study examined the relationship between maternal expressed emotion (EE) and children's perceived self-competence, behavior and intelligence in a community sample of 190 urban, African American children ages 6-7. Maternal EE was measured by the Five Minute Speech Sample. Self reports and standardized measures were used to examine other mother and child variables. Compared with Low EE, High EE was associated with children's decreased cognitive self-concept, increased anxiety, and greater levels of hyperactivity. EE was unrelated to children's intelligence. The study suggests that for African American children at early school age, maternal EE predicts child anxiety, perceived cognitive competence, and hyperactive behavior. Further investigation appears warranted to evaluate the relationship, over time, between EE and child outcomes.