The Impact of Developing Social Perspective-taking Skills on Emotionality in Middle and Late Childhood

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Abstract

A sample of 209 children was followed longitudinally to examine the impact of growing perspective-taking skills on positive and negative emotionality in middle and late childhood. Perspective-taking skills were assessed through interviews. Teachers rated children's emotional reactivity and capacity to regain a neutral state following emotional arousal. Analyses of contemporaneous data revealed that more developed perspective-taking skills were associated with moderate levels of emotional reactivity. In addition, in children with high emotional reactivity, good perspective-taking skills were associated with good capacity to regain a neutral affective state following emotional arousal. Longitudinal analyses revealed that children who made gains in perspective-taking skills over a two-year-period became more moderate in negative emotional reactivity and improved their ability to down-regulate strong positive emotions. The overall findings support the notion that children use perspective-taking skills as a tool for optimal regulation of emotional responses.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology

Keywords

  • perspective taking, emotion regulation, middle childhood, late childhood
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-375
JournalSocial Development
Volume20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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