Emotional The stories were both narrated and illustrated

Emotional regulation is our ability to respond
to a variety of emotions in a socially accepted and healthy manner. The value of emotional regulation is
substantial to our development as mature adults. In the past, emotional
regulation was thought to depend on age and gender. However, children may have
the ability to understand the value of different emotional regulation
strategies before they can use them. This study will show the differences in
emotional regulation between different age groups and gender in ninety-seven
children. In addition, this study will also demonstrate the children’s
perceptions of which strategies are most effective while dealing with sadness
and anger. It was hypothesized that children would use more problem-solving
strategies to deal with anger, and emotion-focused strategies to deal with
sadness. It was also hypothesized that younger children would use simpler
strategies to deal with their emotions, when compared to older children. Lastly,
it was hypothesized that girls would identify emotional venting to be more
effective than boys would.

Ninety-seven children were told four stories;
two stories to elicit the emotional response of anger and the other two stories
elicit the emotional response of sadness. The stories were both narrated and
illustrated by five cards in this sequence: (1) a character conveying
happiness; (2) an event that would evoke the emotion, such as finding your
favorite toy broken without knowing how it was broken or who broke it; (3) the
character displaying the negative emotion, such as sadness; (4) a question
mark; (5) the character happy once again. After the third card, the children
were asked how they felt to confirm the negative emotion the story elicited was
the correct emotion. Also, after the forth card was flipped the children were
asked to pick from eight emotional coping measures: problem solve, seek adult
support, seek peer support, cognitive reappraisal, vent emotion, aggression,
distraction, or to do nothing. The children were then also asked to rate which
emotional coping measure they thought was most effective on a scale from highly
unhelpful to highly helpful.

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The results showed that children endorsed
problem solving more for anger than sadness. However, seeking adult support and
venting emotions were highly more endorsed for sadness then in anger. The other
five strategies were not very popular, including seeking peer support. The
results also concluded that age played a major role in deciding which emotional
coping measures the children thought were either helpful or not helpful. Children
that were six years old, endorsed the helpfulness of “vent emotion” and “do
nothing” more than children that were nine years old. Although, there was no
major difference in the other six categories. Furthermore, gender played a
considerable role in deciding between emotional coping measures. Girls stated
that 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 significant
difference in how the other six categories were rated.

Th study showed that there was uniformity in
the strategy used to tackle anger and sadness, with all the children. Six-year-old
girls endorsed emotion focused strategies more than boy counterparts did. In
addition, younger children tend to express their feelings rather than to manage
them. However, younger children endorsed more sophisticated strategies, such as
cognitive reappraisal to the same extent as older children did. Although, they
are slow to abandon less effective practices, such as doing nothing, it was
proven that younger children understand more advanced concepts for controlling
emotions than previously thought.  

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