Date of Award

Fall 11-17-2010

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Erin B. Tone PhD

Second Advisor

Michelle Broth PhD

Third Advisor

Lindsey Cohen PhD


Little is known about how maternal positive affect (PA) relates to maternal patterns of emotion socialization about positive emotions. The current study examined the hypothesis that mothers’ self-reported PA, independent of their negative affect (NA), is associated with increased and more appropriate modeling of verbal and nonverbal expressions of positive emotions in mothers. I examined associations between self-reported maternal PA and behaviors during video-taped discussions of times when the mothers and children were happy in 53 healthy mother-child dyads. These tapes were coded using standard observational coding schemes. Results suggest that mothers with higher ratings of PA, independent of NA, positively predicted levels of observed maternal positive involvement and communication while reminiscing. Maternal PA was unrelated to observed dyadic mutual enjoyment, positive emotion words and teaching during mother-child reminiscing. Results add to the existing literature on positive psychology in important ways. Theoretical implications for understanding positive emotions are discussed.