Parental criticism affects adolescents' mood and ruminative state: Self-perception appears to influence their mood response

Sam Luc B Bonduelle, Rudi De Raedt, Caroline Braet, Edward Campforts, Chris Baeken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Feeling and/or being criticized is a known risk factor for various psychiatric disorders in adolescents. However, the link between the experience of social stressors and the development of psychopathological symptoms is not yet fully understood. Identifying which adolescent subgroups are more vulnerable to parental criticism could be of great clinical relevance. In this study, 90 nondepressed 14- to 17-year-old adolescents were exposed to a sequence of auditory segments with a positive, neutral, and finally negative valence, mirroring parental criticism. Their mood and ruminative states were assessed before and after exposure to criticism. We observed an overall increase in mood disturbance and ruminative thoughts. Self-perception appeared to influence these mood changes, whereas no significant influence by perceived criticism, self-worth, or the general tendency to ruminate was found. Emotional awareness seemed to account for some of the variance in positive mood state changes. These findings point to the importance of adolescent self-perception (and emotional awareness) in dealing with parental criticism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105728
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S.L.B.B. was supported by the Research Foundation–Flanders (FWO)/Red Nose (Rode Neuzen) fund ( G0F4617N ) for this research project. R.D.R. is supported by the Research Foundation FWO/Fonds National de La Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Excellence of Science (EOS) program ( G0I2422N ). C.Ba. is supported by the Queen Elisabeth Medical Foundation for Neurosciences, by an Applied Biomedical (TBM) grant of the Agency of Innovation through Science and Technology (IWT), part of the FWO PrevenD Project 2.0 (T000720N), and by an FWO project (G011018N). Several people helped in various ways to conduct this study. We thank the students and staff of the participating schools (Stedelijke Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten [Aalst], and Sint-Lievenscollege [Ghent]); Laura Wante and Marie-Lotte Van Beveren for their help with the recruitment of participants; Jill Hooley, Julie Deconinck, Lotte De Troyer, and Kristien Maes for their help with adapting the auditory segments; Sara De Witte, Josefien Dedoncker, Stefanie De Smet, Louise Puttevils, Paula Horczak, Robrecht Dockx, Yangfeng Xu, Linde De Wandel, Damien Brevers, Mirthe Huibers, and Florine De Vydt for their help with conducting the experiment; and finally Marie-Anne Vanderhasselt and Cleo Crunelle for their valued input and feedback.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


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