Regulation, emotionality, and preschoolers' socially competent peer interactions

Richard A. Fabes, Nancy Eisenberg, Sarah Jones, Melanie Smith, Ivanna Guthrie, Rick Paulin, Stephanie Shepard, Jo Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


In this study, the relations of regulatory control to the qualities of children's everyday peer interactions were examined. Effortful control (EC) and observations of peer interactions were obtained from 135 preschoolers (77 boys and 58 girls, mean ages = 50.88 and 50.52, respectively). The results generally confirmed the prediction that children who are high in EC were relatively unlikely to experience high levels of negative emotional arousal in response to peer interactions, but this relation held only for moderate to high intense interactions. Socially competent responding was less likely to be observed when the interaction was intense or when negative emotions were elicited. Moreover, when the interactions were of high intensity, highly regulated children were likely to evidence socially competent responses. The relation of EC and intensity to social competence was partially mediated by negative emotional arousal. The results support the conclusion that individual differences in regulation interact with situational factors in influencing young children's socially competent responding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-442
Number of pages11
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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