The role of parental maladaptive emotion socialization in the risk process for negative urgency and drinking behavior in adolescence

Emily A. Atkinson, Leo A. Miller, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Negative urgency (the tendency to act rashly when experiencing negative emotions) is a robust risk factor for a number of problem behaviors, including early adolescent drinking. Little is known about the factors that precede the development of negative urgency, and hence the full etiology of this component of risk. The current study aimed to investigate the possibility that facets of childhood maladaptive emotion socialization (the tendency for children's expressions of emotions to be met with punishment, minimized, or invoke a reaction of distress from their parents/caretakers) increases risk for the development of negative urgency and drinking behavior. Method: Self-report measures of negative urgency, subfacets of maladaptive emotion socialization, and drinking behavior were collected during the 2021−2022 academic year from a sample of 428 high school students (mean age = 14.7, SD = 0.09, 44% female), assessed twice over the course of a semester, reflecting a 4-month longitudinal window. Results: Distress emotion socialization predicted increases in negative urgency, minimizing predicted decreases in negative urgency, and punitive did not provide significant prediction. Additionally, results found that higher levels of both negative urgency and distress emotion socialization increased adolescents' likelihood of having tried alcohol. These processes were invariant across race and gender. Conclusions: The present study may inform the future creation of prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing maladaptive emotion socialization and increasing adaptive emotion socialization. Successful reductions in negative urgency as a consequence of increased adaptive emotion socialization may then lead to decreases in adolescent drinking and other impulsigenic behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Foundation for Professionals in Services to Adolescents.


  • adolescent development: affect
  • adolescent development: personality
  • adolescent development: risk factors
  • disturbances and disorders of adolescence: risk behavior and sensation seeking
  • group or environment: high school students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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