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      The relations of parental warmth and positive expressiveness to children's empathy-related responding and social functioning: a longitudinal study.

      Child Development
      Child, Empathy, Facial Expression, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Parent-Child Relations, Parents, Social Behavior, Social Perception

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          Abstract

          This study examined the concurrent and cross-time relations of parental observed warmth and positive expressivity to children's situational facial and self-reported empathic responding, social competence, and externalizing problems in a sample of 180 elementary school children. Data was collected when the children were in second to fifth grades (age: M = 112.8 months), and again 2 years later. Cross-sectional and longitudinal structural equation models supported the hypothesis that parents' (mostly mothers') positive expressivity mediated the relation between parental warmth and children's empathy, and children's empathy mediated the relation between parental positive expressivity and children's social functioning. These relations persisted after controlling for prior levels of parenting and child characteristics. Moreover, concurrent and cross-time consistencies were found on measures of parenting, children's situational empathic responding, and social functioning.

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