Socioemotional Flexibility in Mother-Daughter Dyads Across Multiple Time Scales: A Longitudinal Follow-Up
Socioemotional flexibility involves shifting in and out of emotion states, and the range of emotional states expressed during interpersonal interactions (Hollenstein et al., 2013). Previous research has shown that socioemotional flexibility is associated with greater psychosocial functioning, and its counterpart, rigidity, is associated with poor psychosocial functioning (van der Geissen, et al., 2014; Lougheed & Hollenstein, 2016; van der Geissen, & Bogels, 2017). In a longitudinal follow-up (Time 1, Lougheed & Hollenstein, 2016), we examined socioemotional flexibility of in 54 mothers and their adolescent daughters (M age = 16 years old) at three different timescales: (1) within positive and negative contexts (dynamic flexibility), (2) across contexts (reactive flexibility), and (3) across 2 years (developmental flexibility), and associations with psychosocial functioning. Mothers-daughter dyads completed the Emotional Rollercoaster task—a series of five 3-minute discussions on times they felt the following strong emotions towards each other: (1) Happy/Excited, (2) Worried/Sad, (3) Proud, (4) Frustrated/Annoyed, and (5) Grateful. Findings support the Entrenchment hypothesis, as mother-daughter flexibility remained consistent over two years. In general, greater daughter psychosocial functioning was associated with greater dynamic and reactive flexibility in mother-daughter dyads. Contrary to findings at Time 1, mother psychosocial functioning was not associated with flexibility at Time 2. The changes that characterizes mother-daughter relationships in late adolescence (i.e., decreased mother authority, increased daughter autonomy, and increased internalizing symptoms) are explored as possible explanations for the shift in the associated factors of socioemotional flexibility from Time 1 to Time 2.