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Emotion scripts provide children with culturally meaningful emotional experiences and plans of action for managing feelings and the circumstances surrounding emotional experiences. In an effort to understand how developing children acquire these emotion scripts, two studies described here investigated how children deploy emotion scripts to manage challenging social exchanges. A third study investigated children's beliefs about coping strategies. The first study (1984) used the disappointing gift paradigm in which children thought they would get something desirable when they did not. Results indicated that 6- to 8-year-olds, especially boys, expressed negative emotions to communicate their disapproval of the gift. Ten- to 11-year-olds, especially girls, focused on ensuring that the gift-giver would approve of them, and avoided hurting the gift-giver's feelings. The second study (1992) involved children's expectancies for how to cheer up a despondent person who had previously been very friendly. Seven-year-olds tended to look generally negative, while 12-year-olds produced the most positive expressive behavior along with the most tension behaviors. In the third study (in press), a normal and a sexually abused sample of 6- to 8-year-olds and 10- to 12-year-olds selected the best and worst coping strategies and justified their choice. There were no age, gender, or abuse-related differences in selected strategies. Younger children provided more simplistic justifications than older children. Problem-solving was most often cited as the best coping strategy when feeling shamed or angry, support-seeking when sad, and both strategies when fearful. Distancing was identified as the best strategy when one's feelings were hurt. Aggression was overwhelmingly selected as the worst option regardless of situation. (Contains 20 references.) (KDFB)

Descriptors: Age Differences, Beliefs, Child Development, Childhood Attitudes, Children, Emotional Development, Emotional Response, Interpersonal Competence, Interpersonal Relationship, Self Control, Sex Differences, Social Cognition, Theories











Author: Saarni, Carolyn

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=11043&id=ED407176



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