Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Special Education

First Advisor

Yaoying Xu

Second Advisor

Kevin Sutherland

Third Advisor

LaRon Scott

Fourth Advisor

Fantasy Lozada


Current research indicates that caregivers’ responses and behaviors to young children’s emotion expressions communicate messages that teach young children how to understand, label, recognize and modify emotions in socially desirable ways. This process is referred to as emotion socialization. This topic is timely and relevant due to the large numbers of preschoolers suspended and expelled each year. Several reports indicate that 50,000 preschoolers are suspended each year and that Black boys are the largest recipients of such actions. Black boys comprise just 19% of preschool enrollment, but 45% of male suspensions. In addition, data show that preschool teachers expect challenging behavior to occur when Black boys are present, even when there is no challenging behavior. Cultural and contextual factors such as child’s race/ethnicity, gender, social status, are also influencing differences in preschool caregiver’s emotion socialization behaviors.

The goal of this study was to examine whether a professional development (PD) model increases preschool teachers’ use of emotionally supportive responses to the negative emotion expressions of Black boys with low levels of emotional competence. The research design was a multiple-baseline across participants design. There were two Black female teacher participants and the model was implemented in a private not-for profit center and a non-profit center that targeted families and children at risk for developmental delays. Findings from the study showed a functional relation between the PD model and teachers’ use of emotionally supportive instructional practices. Implications for the future include examining the impact of setting on implementation of the PD model using a multiple baseline across settings design and examining the role of teachers’ thoughts and beliefs about negative emotion expressions on teachers’ use of emotionally supportive responses.


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