Family emotion expressivity, emotion regulation, and the link to psychopathology: Examination across race


Correspondence should be addressed to Diana Morelen, Psychology Building, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA (e-mail:


Research has established links between parental emotion socialization behaviours and youth emotional and psychological outcomes; however, no study has simultaneously compared these relations for White, Black, and Asian individuals. In this study, emerging adults identifying as White (n= 61), Black (n= 51), or Asian (n= 56) retrospectively reported on parents’ emotion socialization behaviours during childhood, existing emotion regulation (ER) skills, and current psychopathology symptoms. Asian participants reported fewer positive displays of emotions in their families during childhood than White and Black participants. Despite this difference, low expression of positive emotions in families during childhood did not relate to negative outcomes for Asian participants but was linked for White and Black participants. Overall, Asian participants reported more difficulties with ER than Black or White participants, and relations between ER difficulties and psychopathology varied by racial group. The findings emphasize the need to consider race when conducting research on emotion functioning with families and highlight emotion dysregulation as a potential treatment target for White, Black, and Asian individuals.