Young children's emotionality, regulation and social functioning and their responses when they are targets of a peer's anger

Bridget C. Murphy, Nancy Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined the relations of young children's (N = 70) anger-related responses (i.e., behavioral scripts when they are targets of a peer's anger, perceptions of a peer's anger intensity, and involvement in real-life anger conflict incidents) to children's emotionality, regulation, and social functioning. Children aged 4 to 6 used puppets to act out their responses to hypothetical situations in which they inadvertently provoked a peer who then became angry at them. Boys viewed by teachers as emotionally intense, unregulated, nonconstructive copers, aggressive, and socially inappropriate tended to enact unfriendly responses when they were targets of a peer's anger. In addition, boys and girls viewed as aggressive (by teachers and mothers, respectively) and girls whose teachers viewed them as unregulated enacted assertive puppet responses. Children's enacted responses did not vary as a function of sex or level of the peer's anger. Girls' perceptions of relatively high levels of peers' anger were related to mothers' reports of aggressiveness and low self-regulation. Finally, peer reports of children's involvement in anger conflicts were associated with children's high emotional intensity, nonconstructive coping, low regulation, and socially inappropriate behavior, and boys' aggressiveness and low popularity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-36
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Development
Volume6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

Keywords

  • Anger
  • Emotionality
  • Peer relations
  • Social functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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