Co-reminiscing with a caregiver about a devastating tornado: Association with adolescent anxiety symptoms
Abel, Madelaine R.
Vernberg, Eric M.
Lochman, John E.
McDonald, Kristina L.
Jarrett, Matthew A.
Hendrickson, Michelle L.
American Psychological Association
Scholarly/refereed, author accepted manuscript
Copyright © 2020, American Psychological Association
MetadataShow full item record
This study explores the association between caregivers’ style of co-reminiscing with their adolescents about an EF4 tornado and youth anxiety symptoms several years following the disaster. Caregiver reward of their children’s emotional expression, defined as attending to and validating emotionally salient content, is generally associated with adaptive youth psychosocial outcomes. However, caregiver reward of youth recollections that are centered around the youth’s negative emotional expression could be an indicator that both caregivers and adolescents are engaged in co-rumination regarding negative emotional experiences. This process may contribute to relatively higher levels of anxiety over time. Adolescents (N = 169) drawn from an ongoing study for aggressive youth (ages 12 to 17; 82% African American) provided individual recollections about their experiences during a devastating tornado 4 to 5 years following the disaster. Caregivers and youth then co-reminisced about their tornado-related experiences. Individual youth recollections were coded for negative personal impact and use of negative emotion words; caregiver–adolescent conversations were coded for caregiver reward of negative emotional expression. Youth who noted more negative personal impacts and used more negative emotion words were higher in parent-rated youth anxiety, and these associations were moderated by caregiver reward of negative emotional expression. The associations between youth recollection qualities and anxiety emerged only when caregivers exhibited high levels of reward of negative emotional expression. These patterns were generally stronger for girls compared to boys. Findings suggest that excessively discussing and rehashing negative experiences, especially several years after the disaster, may be a risk factor for anxiety among disaster-exposed adolescents.
Abel, M. R., Vernberg, E. M., Lochman, J. E., McDonald, K. L., Jarrett, M. A., Hendrickson, M. L., & Powell, N. (2020). Co-reminiscing with a caregiver about a devastating tornado: Association with adolescent anxiety symptoms. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(7), 846–856. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000683
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