Parent-Child Transmission of Disgust and Hand Hygiene: The Role of Vocalizations, Gestures and Other Parental Responses

Megan Oaten*, Richard J. Stevenson, Paul Wagland, Trevor I. Case, Betty M. Repacholi

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Recent findings indicate that parents, in the presence of disgust elicitors, exhibit exaggerated behavioral avoidance and direct expressions of disgust toward younger children. Here we examine whether other communication channels—vocalizations and gestures—are also used to entrain disgust. We also explore whether parents transmit hand hygiene practices in a similar manner. Children’s disgust responses factored into two discrete components—expressive and felt disgust. Variance in child expressive disgust, when tested alone, was explained by a combination of parental facial and vocal disgust, moderated by child age. Children’s felt disgust, when tested alone, was weakly related to parental self-reports of disgust. Hand hygiene transmission (HHT) was observed and directed toward younger children (2–3 years). Parents who demonstrated HHT also directed more disgust-related behaviors towards their child. The age-moderated effects here suggest parents selectively direct facial and vocal expression of disgust toward young children and this has detectable consequences on their disgust behavior.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)803-811
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychological Record
    Volume64
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

    Keywords

    • Contamination
    • Development
    • Disgust
    • Hand hygiene

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