Emotional would. Ninety-seven children were told four
Emotional regulation is our ability to respondto a variety of emotions in a socially accepted and healthy manner. The value of emotional regulation issubstantial to our development as mature adults. In the past, emotionalregulation was thought to depend on age and gender. However, children may havethe ability to understand the value of different emotional regulationstrategies before they can use them. This study will show the differences inemotional regulation between different age groups and gender in ninety-sevenchildren. In addition, this study will also demonstrate the children’sperceptions of which strategies are most effective while dealing with sadnessand anger. It was hypothesized that children would use more problem-solvingstrategies to deal with anger, and emotion-focused strategies to deal withsadness.
It was also hypothesized that younger children would use simplerstrategies to deal with their emotions, when compared to older children. Lastly,it was hypothesized that girls would identify emotional venting to be moreeffective than boys would. Ninety-seven children were told four stories;two stories to elicit the emotional response of anger and the other two storieselicit the emotional response of sadness.
The stories were both narrated andillustrated by five cards in this sequence: (1) a character conveyinghappiness; (2) an event that would evoke the emotion, such as finding yourfavorite toy broken without knowing how it was broken or who broke it; (3) thecharacter displaying the negative emotion, such as sadness; (4) a questionmark; (5) the character happy once again. After the third card, the childrenwere asked how they felt to confirm the negative emotion the story elicited wasthe correct emotion. Also, after the forth card was flipped the children wereasked to pick from eight emotional coping measures: problem solve, seek adultsupport, seek peer support, cognitive reappraisal, vent emotion, aggression,distraction, or to do nothing. The children were then also asked to rate whichemotional coping measure they thought was most effective on a scale from highlyunhelpful to highly helpful. The results showed that children endorsedproblem solving more for anger than sadness. However, seeking adult support andventing emotions were highly more endorsed for sadness then in anger. The otherfive strategies were not very popular, including seeking peer support.
Theresults also concluded that age played a major role in deciding which emotionalcoping measures the children thought were either helpful or not helpful. Childrenthat were six years old, endorsed the helpfulness of “vent emotion” and “donothing” more than children that were nine years old. Although, there was nomajor difference in the other six categories.
Furthermore, gender played aconsiderable role in deciding between emotional coping measures. Girls statedthat the emotional coping measures of “seeking peer support” and “vent emotion”were much more effective than males said they were; yet, there was not a significantdifference in how the other six categories were rated. Th study showed that there was uniformity inthe strategy used to tackle anger and sadness, with all the children. Six-year-oldgirls endorsed emotion focused strategies more than boy counterparts did. Inaddition, younger children tend to express their feelings rather than to managethem.
However, younger children endorsed more sophisticated strategies, such ascognitive reappraisal to the same extent as older children did. Although, theyare slow to abandon less effective practices, such as doing nothing, it wasproven that younger children understand more advanced concepts for controllingemotions than previously thought.