Examining the Relationship of Children’s Behavior to Emotion Regulation Ability



This study investigated the relationship between children’s ability to regulate emotions and display of appropriate behavior in social settings. A sample of 33 children representing a wide range of social economic status was randomly selected from a Head Start Program and an Early Childhood Development Center in the Midwest. Data were collected using the Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC) developed by Shields and Cicchetti (Dev Psychol 33:906–916, 1997, J Clin child Psychol, 27:231–395, 1998). A “Behavior Recording” checklist was developed and used to record appropriate and inappropriate behavior observed during children social interactions. Teacher ratings identified children as generally high emotion regulators. Girls had generally higher scores than boys in emotion regulation ability. A high relationship (r = .76) was also found between emotion regulation and display of appropriate behavior. Results indicate the importance of emotions in relation to a child’s well being and academic achievement. Additionally, these findings suggest a need for parents and early childhood educators to teach children appropriate emotional behavior when confronted with situations that are in conflict with societal norms.


Early childhood Emotion regulation Emotional intelligence Parents Teachers Social behavior 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and LearningUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA

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