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Title: Interactive processes in the development of emotion regulation in the first three years
Author: Warren, Frances
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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Early emotion regulation is an important factor in predicting later socio-emotional development, with difficulties in coping with negative emotions being linked to the development of emotional and behavioural problems. The ability to effectively regulate emotion is a major task for infants and toddlers, and identifying the conditions which promote optimal regulation is an important focus for research. Despite this, little empirical research has addressed its development over time, particularly in the first three years. Moreover, research has emphasised the importance of parenting in children's development of emotion regulation, yet limited studies have looked at the direct effect of parental support on infants' developing emotion regulation. The current thesis seeks to extend existing research by examining the developmental trajectory of emotion regulation over infancy and toddlerhood, and by investigating the relative contribution of parental involvement over time. Participants were 136 mother-child dyads. The main analyses focused on a frustrating, toy separation task, which was administered when children were 15-, 26-, and 37-months, during which the level of support mothers could provide was manipulated. Child and parent behaviour was coded based on their responses during the task. Analyses found that emotion regulation improved with age, beginning to stabilise between 2 and 3 years of age. Younger children showed more distress and less regulation with increased maternal involvement, while they demonstrated the reverse effect as they got older. Concurrently, sensitive, responsive parenting was associated with less distress and more effective emotion regulation, while intrusive parenting behaviours were associated with more distress and less effective regulation. There was also evidence to suggest that some of these findings may extend longitudinally. These findings emphasise the importance of external factors influencing the development of emotion regulation, particularly demonstrating the importance of active parental involvement and sensitivity in facilitating optimal regulation. Results are discussed with reference to child temperament, attachment, and gender.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available