Temperament and Emotion Regulation: Predicting Social Competence, Internalizing, and Externalizing Behavioral Outcomes

Nicole B. Fettig

Major Professor: Susanne A Denham, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Timothy W. Curby, Hideko H. Bassett

David King Hall, #1024
April 06, 2015, 01:30 PM to 10:30 AM

Abstract:

In this study, I examine the unique and interactive contributions of temperament and specific emotion regulation strategies in predicting preschooler externalizing and internalizing behaviors as well as their social competence. Parent reports of child temperament were obtained, emotion regulation strategy usage was directly assessed, and behavior problems and social competence was obtained from the child's preschool teacher. Results indicated that children with lower effortful control displayed greater externalizing behavior. A marginally significant interaction emerged indicating that preschooler active distraction was more strongly related to children's externalizing behaviors when children had less effortful control. The relation between children's pasive waiting strategy usage and internalizing behaviors was strongest for children with low negative affect. Moreover, two marginally significant interactions with children's information gathering suggest that increased information gathering increases preschooler-internalizing behaviors when children are low in effortful control and high in surgency. Finally, the negative rlation between children's active distraction and social competence was strongest for those children with low effortful control. Thus, results suggest that prevention or intervention methods might be used to target children with low effortful control.