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Title:Emotion regulation in toddlers: Developmental changes and individual differences
Author(s):Diener, Marissa Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mangelsdorf, Sarah C.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Psychology, Cognitive
Abstract:This study examined toddlers' emotion regulation strategies in a variety of episodes designed to elicit fear, frustration, and positive affect. Ninety-four mothers and their 18- (N = 50) or 24-month-old (N = 44) children participated. Mothers completed a set of questionnaires on their personalities, their responses to children's emotions, affect intensity, the emotional expression within their families, and their perceptions of emotion. Mothers also reported on their children's temperament and language abilities. The children and their mothers participated in six episodes designed to elicit fear, frustration, and positive affect. Mothers' behavior was constrained for the first several minutes of each episode. After several minutes, mothers were instructed to help their children in whatever way they thought appropriate. Results indicated that toddlers' emotion regulation strategies differed as a function of maternal involvement. Child age and temperament were meaningfully related to how the toddlers changed their strategies from the Mother Constrained to the Mother Involved periods. More specifically, older children were better able to change their regulatory strategies appropriately depending upon their mothers' availability than were younger children. More temperamentally reactive children showed larger differences in emotion regulation strategies as a function of maternal involvement than did less reactive children. Children showed consistency in the ability to choose effective strategies for emotion regulation across the negative affect (fear and anger) episodes, although they did not show consistency in specific regulatory behaviors across the negativate affect episodes. These results emphasize the importance of flexibility in strategy use. Mothers, on the other hand, were more consistent in behavior across both the positive and negative episodes. That is, meaningful styles of maternal intervention emerged. Children's ability to choose effective strategies was related to maternal style of intervention in the frustration episodes. The different pattern of results that emerged for the positive affect, fear, and frustration episodes emphasizes the importance of examining emotion regulation strategies across different emotionally eliciting contexts.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Diener, Marissa Lynn
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712255
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712255

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