استراتژی های رفتاری برای تنظیم احساسات در کودکان نو پا: ارتباط با دخالت مادر و عبارات عاطفی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|34869||1999||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Infant Behavior and Development, Volume 22, Issue 4, 1999, Pages 569–583
Ninety-four mothers and their 18- or 24-month-old children participated in four laboratory episodes designed to elicit fear or anger. Mothers’ behavior was constrained for the first part of each episode; mothers were then instructed to help their children. Toddlers’ behavioral strategies differed as a function of maternal involvement and as a function of the emotion-eliciting context. Only some of the behavioral strategies assumed to minimize expressions of distress truly did so; other behaviors showed maintenance effects on fear and anger expressions. The different pattern of results for the fear and frustration episodes highlights the importance of examining behavioral strategies across contexts designed to elicit different emotions.
The ability to effectively regulate emotions is a primary goal of socioemotional development (Garber & Dodge, 1991) and is vital for many aspects of functioning (Thompson, 1994). For example, research with infants and preschoolers suggests that behavioral strategies are associated with both attachment quality and sociometric status Braungart and Stifter 1991 and Eisenberg et al 1993. Emotion regulation may also be related to successful cognitive performance (e.g., Sarason, 1984), and associated with psychopathology (e.g., Cole, Michel, & Teti, 1994). Given the importance of this domain of development, it is important to understand emotion regulation processes in early childhood, as well as the role caregivers play in supporting emotion regulation in young children. The current study will examine these issues, with a particular focus on the importance of caregiver support for behavioral strategies, and the effectiveness of these behavioral strategies for modifying and maintaining emotional expressions. Although research on emotion regulation has increased dramatically in recent years, there is no consensus definition of emotion regulation. A common conceptualization is to consider emotion regulation to be the processes, both extrinsic and intrinsic, responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions for the purpose of accomplishing one’s goals Kopp 1989 and Thompson 1994. The current study focuses on one aspect of Thompson’s conceptualization of emotion regulation: children’s use of behavioral strategies that may modify or maintain emotional reactions, as measured by emotional expressions. Despite differing definitions of emotion regulation, a common approach is to examine the actions or behavioral strategies assumed to change, reduce, or maintain distress, such as approach, withdrawal, distraction, social referencing, and self-soothing—i.e., thumb sucking, hair twisting, and using transitional objects, such as a blanket, for security and comfort (e.g., Grolnick et al 1996, Mangelsdorf et al 1995 and Rothbart et al 1992). This approach has been important for identifying and defining behavioral strategies and describing how these strategies change over development. Kopp (1989) suggests that external support from caregivers is crucial for emotion regulation in infants and young children. Infants learn to associate caregivers with the potential to change their negative states. As toddlers come to understand the causes of emotional distress, they may use planful strategies aimed at changing or eliminating the cause of distress. Kopp hypothesizes that these planful strategies may require maternal support in order to be implemented. Thus, one question that is raised is how children’s behavioral strategies differ when their caregivers, in this case their mothers, are relatively unavailable versus how they respond when their caregivers are available to help them. To date, however, little empirical research has explored the role of maternal support on children’s behavioral strategies. One exception is a study by Grolnick et al. (1996) that found that children used the most active orienting away from attractive objects and toward other toys (distraction) during delay situations when an adult was available and involved. This distraction technique may be an effective strategy in that those children who use it are able to delay longer (Mischel & Ebbenson, 1970). Taken together, these findings indicate that caregivers may facilitate effective behavioral strategies. Such findings are in line with Kopp (1989), who suggests that the most important advance in emotion regulation at the end of the first year of life concerns its social interactive aspects. Infants are able to cue their caregivers in specific ways to manipulate their caregivers’ behavior. They actively recruit others, rather than using the unplanned signals produced by younger infants. Thus, toddlers view caregivers as a source of assistance. Empirical evidence supports the claim that infants increasingly enlist the support of caregivers. For example, Rothbart et al. (1992) found that older infants were more likely to orient towards their mothers and were less likely to focus on inanimate aspects of the environment. Oral self-soothing, by comparison, peaked at 3 months and decreased until 13.5 months. Similarly, Parritz (1996) found that 18-month-olds engaged in greater directing, information seeking, and social referencing of mothers than did 12-month-olds. In addition to the importance of caregiver support, the development of behavioral strategies relies upon maturational achievements, including the ability to differentiate facial expressions (Caron, Caron, & MacLean, 1988), better attentional abilities (Banks & Salapatek, 1983), and improved memory (Olson & Sherman, 1983). In the second and third years of life, toddlers’ increasing knowledge of the causes of distress and their ability to make planful actions to eliminate or change a distressing situation may enable more mature forms of regulation to develop. With development, infants and toddlers also have increasing abilities to soothe themselves. For example, infants may learn to direct their attention to toys as a way of alleviating distress. Gianino and Tronick (1988) found that the tendency to attend to objects as a coping strategy increased from 3 to 6 and from 6 to 9 months of age. Motor and perceptual withdrawal decreased with age, indicating that this type of passive disengagement was more typical of very young infants. In addition, body tension, such as hand clenching, decreased with age. Grolnick et al. (1996) found that active engagement with substitute toys (distraction) was the most frequently used behavioral strategy by 2-year-olds, whereas self-soothing was used relatively infrequently by 2-year-olds. Mangelsdorf et al. (1995) reported an increase in directing behaviors with age, and also found that 12- and 18-month-old infants engaged in more self-distraction and behavioral avoidance than 6-month-olds. Twelve-month-olds engaged in more self-soothing (e.g., thumb-sucking, hair twirling) than 18-month-olds. In summary, research with infants and toddlers indicates that the behavioral strategy of self-soothing seems to decrease with age (Rothbart et al., 1992), whereas infants’ abilities to use objects and more distal interactive strategies increase with age Grolnick et al 1996, Mangelsdorf et al 1995 and Rothbart et al 1992, as Kopp predicts. However, these studies, with the exception of the Grolnick et al. research, were not able to examine whether behavioral strategy use changed across conditions of varied maternal availability. The current study will address how children’s behavioral strategies differ as a function of maternal involvement. Both age groups were expected to show relatively low levels of strategies favored by younger infants, such as self-soothing. We predicted that children would attempt to enlist their mothers’ support and help in situations when their mothers were uninvolved. In contrast, we predicted that children would show interactive forms of regulation, such as social referencing, and planful strategies aimed at decreasing distress, when their mothers were available to help them. The literature reviewed above indicates that a common approach to the study of emotion regulation during infancy has been to examine behavioral strategies that infants use and assume that these behavioral strategies serve to change or regulate the child’s emotional experience. Little research, however, has examined empirically the effect these behavioral strategies have on emotional experience. That is, it is unclear whether these behavioral strategies truly serve a regulatory purpose. In a study with 5- and 10-month-old infants, Stifter and Braungart (1995) found that self-soothing was the behavioral strategy used most frequently, and that this strategy showed a regulatory effect, in that it occurred more frequently during periods of decreasing arousal than during periods of increasing or unchanging arousal. Buss and Goldsmith (1998) rated children’s behavioral strategies—i.e., distraction, social referencing, interacting with stimulus, reaching for toy, approach and withdrawal—and emotional expressions in fear- and anger-eliciting situations. They found that most behavioral strategies were ineffective in reducing fear expressions. On the other hand, every behavioral strategy they examined was effective in reducing angry distress. These findings suggest that context may be an important determinant for whether a behavioral strategy actually modifies the subsequent emotional reaction. The current study adds to these previous studies by examining the effectiveness of behavioral strategies for modifying emotional expressions in the second year of life across two emotion eliciting contexts and two conditions of maternal availability. In summary, the current study will examine several different questions: (1) How do children’s behavioral strategies differ as a function of maternal involvement? (2) Is emotion eliciting context (fear versus anger) important for children’s behavioral strategies? (3) Are these behavioral strategies associated with changes in emotional expression? That is, do these behavioral strategies in fact serve a regulatory function?