Children’s Emotion Regulation during a Disappointment: the Moderating Roles of Emotion Reactivity and Gender




Fettig, Nicole Bowling

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Young children differ in the way they experience, modulate and express emotion. Children’s ability to modulate their emotions is an important skill for the development of socioemotional competence, as competence is partly judged by the ability to attend and adapt to the demands of specific social situations in appropriate ways. In particular, research has linked difficulty in regulating negative emotions to emotional and behavioral problems. Emotion regulation has been assessed through the use of provocation tasks in social contexts as such tasks allow researchers to contrast displayed emotions to the presumed ‘experienced’ emotions. Previous work has linked individual differences in emotion regulation to individual differences in initial emotional reactivity (often marked by broad patterns of temperament and psychophysiology) and gender. The primary objective of this study is to examine the impact of emotion reactivity and gender on children’s affective responses to disappointment. Specifically, we examined levels of positive and negative affect across conditions varying in affective and social demands. The results of this study may elucidate mechanisms that impact a child’s ability to adaptively regulate emotions.



Emotion regulation, Temperament, Emotion reactivity, Gender