Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 11–12, pp 775–785 | Cite as

Sadness, Anger, and Frustration: Gendered Patterns in Early Adolescents’ and Their Parents’ Emotion Talk

Original Article

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate gender patterns in early adolescents’ and their parents’ verbal expression of three gender-stereotyped emotions: anger, sadness, and frustration. Parents and their early adolescent children discussed four interpersonal dilemmas and answered questions regarding those dilemmas in mother–child and father–child dyads. Consistent with previous literature regarding gender stereotypes in emotion expression, daughters used a higher frequency of emotion words than sons did during conversations with their mothers and fathers. Additional analyses regarding the three specific emotions under investigation, however, revealed findings that were inconsistent with conventional gender stereotypes. Contrary to expectations, in conversations with fathers, sons used a higher proportion of references to sadness than did daughters. Daughters used a higher proportion of references to frustration than did sons in their conversations with both mothers and fathers. Mothers and fathers used a higher proportion of references to frustration with daughters than with sons. No gender differences were found in parents’ or children’s references to anger. The results call into question culturally accepted gender stereotypes about sadness, anger, and frustration.

Keywords

Emotions Parent–child conversations Gender 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brooklyn CollegeBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.The CUNY Graduate CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Psychology FieldKingston UniversityKingston-upon-ThamesUK

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