The role of family expressiveness in American and Chinese adolescents' emotional experiences

Yena KYEONG, Yuen Man Rebecca CHEUNG, Cecilia S. CHEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


To understand the role of family emotional socialization across cultural contexts, this research examined the associations between family emotional expressiveness and early adolescents' emotions in the United States and China. Two times over the course of 1 year, 566 American (n = 331) and Chinese (n = 235) adolescents (age range: 11–14 years) reported on their family members' emotional expressiveness, which was further categorized into three facets (i.e., positive, negative dominant, and negative submissive family expressiveness), and their own experience of positive and negative emotions. In both countries, positive family expressiveness (e.g., expressing excitement) was associated with adolescents' experience of positive emotions 6 months later, above and beyond their prior positive emotional experience. A between‐country difference was evident in the association between positive family expressiveness and adolescents' experience of negative emotions, such that positive family expressiveness was associated with dampened negative emotions 6 months later among American but not Chinese adolescents. Negative dominant family expressiveness (e.g., expressing anger) was not associated with adolescents' emotional experience 6 months later in both countries. However, negative submissive family expressiveness (e.g., expressing sadness) foreshadowed reduced positive emotional experience only among American adolescents. Findings highlight the importance of culture in understanding the implications of family expressiveness for adolescents' emotional experiences. Copyright © 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1076
JournalSocial Development
Issue number4
Early online date26 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


Kyeong, Y., Cheung, R. Y. M., & Cheung, C. S. (2021). The role of family expressiveness in American and Chinese adolescents' emotional experiences. Social Development, 30(4), 1056-1076. doi: 10.1111/sode.12515


  • Adolescents
  • Culture
  • Emotions
  • Expressiveness
  • Family


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