Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Cultural Perspective on Parenting, Trait Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health in Taiwanese Children

Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Cultural Perspective on Parenting, Trait Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health in Taiwanese Children

Article excerpt

Introduction

The term 'emotional intelligence' (EI) describes adaptive interpersonal as well as intrapersonal functioning (Kirk, Schutte, & Hine, 2008), and has attracted substantial interest within psychological research. Two EI constructs are generally differentiated based on the measurement method used to operationalize them: (1) Trait EI, measured through self-report, or (2) ability EI, measured via maximum performance (Petrides & Furnham, 2001). Trait EI refers to a cluster of emotional self-perceptions (Petrides, Pita, & Kokkinaki, 2007), whereas ability EI refers to the ability to understand, manage and utilize emotions, thus measured through maximal performance tests (Ferguson & Austin, 2010).

Trait EI affects various behavioural and mental health outcomes across the lifespan, including children, adolescents, and adults (Gugliandolo, Costa, Cuzzocrea, Larcan, & Petrides, 2015b; Schutte, Malouff, Thorsteinsson, Bhullar, & Rooke, 2007). For instance, trait EI has been found to be negatively related to various mental health outcomes, including anxiety (Martins, Ramalho, & Morin, 2010; Russo, Mancini, Trombini, Baldaro, Mavroveli, & Petrides, 2012), depressive symptoms (Mavroveli, Petrides, Rieffe, & Bakker, 2007; Russo et al., 2012), and negative mood (Andrei & Petrides, 2013; Schutte & Malouff, 2011). On the contrary, trait EI has some positive links with life satisfaction (Palmer, Donaldson, & Stough, 2002), happiness (Chamorro-Premuzic, Bennett & Furnham, 2007), adaptive coping styles, socioemotional competence, and peer relations (Frederickson, Petrides, & Simmonds, 2012; Mavroveli, Petrides, Sangareau & Furnham, 2009). Trait EI has also a moderating effect on the relationship between stress and mental health (Davis & Humphrey, 2012).

Parenting practices also have been found to affect various aspects of children's trait EI. For instance, parental warmth is positively related to children's emotional understanding (Alegre & Benson, 2007), emotional knowledge (Bennett, Bendersky, & Lewis, 2005) and emotional regulation (Eisenberg et al., 1999). Punitive discipline is negatively correlated with children's emotional understanding (Pears & Moses, 2003) and emotional regulation (Morris, Silk, Steinberg, Myers, & Robinson, 2007). Moreover, trait EI could also mediate the effect of perceived parental psychological control on adolescents' behavioural problems (Gugliandolo, Costa, Cuzzocrea, & Larcan, 2015a). Despite some recent research endeavours to clarify the associations between parenting and youths' trait EI, research in this area remains limited (see Alegre, 2011 for review), especially with samples from non-Caucasian population.

Not only is parenting linked to children's trait EI, but parenting also affects various child mental health outcomes, such as socio-emotional adjustment, self-esteem (DeHart, Pelham & Tennen, 2006), and well-being (Fletcher et al., 2008; Zhu & Liang, 2007). Studies among Caucasian populations have yielded consistent findings showing the association between authoritative parenting and positive child outcomes, including better self-esteem and better mental health (DeHart et al., 2006; Steinberg & Morris, 2001). Moreover, close parent-child relationships are usually a protective factor against children's mental health and conduct problems (Hill, Bush & Roosa, 2003). By contrast, harsh parenting practice or authoritarian parenting style have been associated with behavioural and emotional maladjustments (Dallaire et al., 2006; Sheehan & Watson, 2008).

Research with different cultural groups, however, has shown different trends in the relationships between parenting styles and child outcomes when compared with Caucasian populations (e.g. DeaterDeckard et al., 2011). For instance, although authoritative parenting has been found to be related to positive child developmental outcomes in immigrant as well as non-immigrant Chinese populations (Cheah, Leung, Tahseen, & Schultz, 2009; Chen, Liu, Li, Chen, Chen, & Wang, 2000; Wang, Pomerantz, & Chen, 2007), findings on the effects of authoritarian parenting on child outcomes have been inconsistent. …

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