Research Paper Ross A. Thompson

Demographic and Emotional Risk Factors in Early Psychological Development
Ross A. Thompson (Affiliate in Psychology) with graduate researcher Abby C. Winer (Psychology)

Prior research by Thompson has shown that intergenerational processes are important to understanding the problems of emotion understanding for young children in families experiencing economic stress. This project examines the influence of mother’s demographic and emotional risk on the content of mother–child conversations about emotion, as well as young children’s emotion understanding.


In this project, data will be drawn from an ongoing study of an economically diverse community sample. Measures of mother’s depressive symptoms, feelings of personal distress, references to negative emotions in conversation with their children, and the quality of the family emotional climate will be included as indicators of emotional risk.  Children’s emotional understanding will be indexed using their emotion language in conversations with their mothers and their responses to an age-appropriate, puppet-based affective-perspective taking task (Denham, 1986).