Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 403–410 | Cite as

The Role of Emotion in Parent-Child Relationships: Children’s Emotionality, Maternal Meta-Emotion, and Children’s Attachment Security

  • Fu Mei Chen
  • Hsiao Shih Lin
  • Chun Hao Li
Original Paper


This study was intended to examine the relationship among children’s emotionality, parental meta-emotion, and parent–child attachment. The sample consisted of 546 5th and 6th grade children and their mothers. The test instruments used in this study were the Emotionality subscale of the EAS Temperament Survey (mothers’ ratings only), the Parental Meta-Emotion Survey (mothers’ ratings only) and the Attachment Security Scale (children’s ratings only). Our results showed that maternal meta-emotion (emotion coaching plus emotion dismissing) was associated with children’s attachment security vis-à-vis their mothers. Mothers who tended to adopt an emotion-coaching philosophy were more likely to achieve secure parent–child attachments, as reported by their children. Children whose mothers tended to adopt an emotion-dismissing philosophy reported lower levels of attachment security. There were no direct or indirect effects of children’s emotionality on their attachment security. Parental meta-emotion, but not children’s emotionality, was significantly associated with children’s attachment security. The results indicate the importance of parenting factors in determining the parent–child relationship. Parental education programs that focus on parental attitudes and practices related to emotion should be advocated.


Attachment Children’s temperament Meta-emotion Parenting 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child and Family StudiesFu-Jen UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Keelung Municipal Long-Sheng Primary SchoolKeelungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Social and Policy SciencesYuan Ze UniversityTaoyuan CountyTaiwan

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