Maternal Meta-Emotion Philosophy and Cognitive Functioning in Children Exposed to Violence
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- Cohodes, E., Hagan, M., Lieberman, A. et al. Journ Child Adol Trauma (2016) 9: 191. doi:10.1007/s40653-015-0072-x
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Children exposed to violence tend to have lower IQs, poorer performance on explicit memory tasks, and lower verbal performance. Despite evidence that caregivers influence children’s behavioral and emotional responses to violence, little is known about caregivers’ role in mitigating the effects of violence exposure on children’s cognitive functioning. This study tested the hypothesis that maternal meta-emotion philosophy of children’s sadness and anger, assessed using Gottman’s Meta-Emotion Interview, would be associated with children’s verbal IQ. This was done in a sample of 79 dyads consisting of mothers and their preschool-aged children exposed to either community or domestic violence. Multiple regression analyses indicated that a composite of maternal awareness, acceptance, and coaching of children’s sadness, but not anger, significantly predicted children’s verbal IQ. These findings contribute to the field’s understanding of parents’ role in children’s cognitive functioning among children exposed to community and family violence.