A Clinical-Community Comparison of Parent-Child Emotion Conversations About the Past and the Anticipated Future

Publication Name

Journal of Early Adolescence


This study aimed to assess differences in emotion and elaboration quality between clinical and community child cohorts in both past reminiscing and future worry conversations. We analyzed 54 Australian parents (46 mothers, 8 fathers) and their 8- to 12-year-old children (M = 9.63, SD = 1.29; 28 boys, 26 girls) in reminiscing interactions. Dyads were recruited from local schools (community cohort, n = 26) or a children’s psychology clinic waitlist (clinical cohort, n = 28). Clinical cohort children engaged in less emotion exploration in both past and future conversations, as did parents for future conversations. Elaboration quality did not differ. Parent-son dyads differed in the clinical cohort, exhibiting significantly lower emotion resolution than the community cohort, or parent-daughter dyads when discussing past events. These findings suggest that discussing anticipated negative events may be a relevant point of family-based intervention for anxious children. Additionally, this study highlights the importance of parent-son emotional discussion.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Australian Rotary Health



Link to publisher version (DOI)