Reflective functioning and emotion socialization behaviors in caregivers of preschoolers. By: Yule, Kristen and Grych, John. 2024. Family Relations. Vol. 73 Issue 2, p603-622.

Objective: The present study assessed the associations between caregivers’ adverse experiences with childhood caregivers, adult and parental reflective functioning (RF), and emotion socialization strategies with their preschoolers in an effort to illuminate the unique and joint contribution of adult and parental RF in caregiving. Background: Parental RF is defined as parents’ ability to reflect on their child’s state of mind, whereas adult RF involves parents’ capacity to reflect on their own experiences with childhood caregivers. Most research on adult and parental RF has examined these constructs separately, making it unclear whether adult and parental RF playsimilar or different roles in caregiving. Method: Participants were 64 preschooler–caregiver dyads from Head Start programs (Mchildage = 4; 81% Black). A multimethod approach was used, including self‐report, interview, and observational measures. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were employed to evaluate whether adult and parental RF accounted for unique or joint variance in caregivers’ emotion socialization behaviors after accounting for caregivers’ adverse experiences with childhood caregivers.Adult RF also was tested as a moderator of the relation between caregivers’ adverse experiences with childhood caregivers and emotion socialization strategies. Results: Adult and parental RF each demonstrated unique associations with particular emotion socialization strategies. Adult RF also moderated the association between caregivers’ exposure to maladaptive parenting in childhood and emotion socialization behaviors. Conclusion and implications: Findings suggest that both types of RF are important forcaregivers’ ability to validate children’s emotions and that reflecting on caregiving received in childhood can act as a protective mechanism and help promote effective caregiving behaviors.