Emotion Gilliom, Shaw, Beck, Schonberg, & Lukon, 2002;

Emotion Regulation

regulation is defined as “extrinsic and intrinsic processes responsible for
monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions…, to accomplish one’s
goals” (Thompson, 1994, p. 27-28). The field of emotion regulation emerged a
few decades ago and has roots in psychoanalysis, temperament, and stress and
coping theories (Campos,
Campos, Barrett, 1989; Gross, 1998); however,
emotion regulation processes are unique and differ from other constructs (e.g.,
effortful control and coping), which vary in subtle but important ways. For
example, in the stress and coping literature, emotion-focused coping refers to
cognitions and behaviors that are employed to manage emotional responses to
stressful, negatively arousing situations (Lazarus
& Folkman, 1984) whereas in the
developmental literature emotion regulation has expanded to include processes
that are used to modulate both positively and negatively valenced events (Gross, 1998; Thompson 1994; add Fox citation). Although managing negative
emotions is crucial, effectively maintaining or increasing positive emotions
are also significant and necessary for successful functioning (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2007). Therefore, it is
important to examine how individuals respond to and modulate their emotions
across contexts that vary in valence.

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regulation encompasses a range of process, such as behaviors, cognitions, and
attention, that are used consciously (e.g., choosing to focus on an available
object when a desired object is not available) and unconsciously (e.g., quickly
shifting attention away from  negative
stimuli)  to achieve a desired goal. A variety
of emotion regulation strategies can be used; however, not all are equally as
effective in modifying emotional responses in a
socially acceptable way to reach a goal (e.g., John
& Gross, 2004).
According to Thompson (1994), individuals must be flexible in their emotional
responses, and responses should be situationally appropriate, enhance
performance, and be able to change quickly and efficiently as the situation
changes. The efficacy and use of specific emotion regulation strategies have
been examined in TD children using behavioral
observations in which facial expressions, behaviors, and vocalizations are
coded (Denham et al., 2003; Diener
and Mangelsdorf, 1999; Gilliom, Shaw, Beck, Schonberg, &
Lukon, 2002; Grolnick,
Bridges, and Connell, 1996; Saarni,

Although emotion
regulation capabilities begin to develop early in life, the emerging abilities
are limited and require external regulation to manage emotional arousal. As
children develop, advances
across various domains related to emotion regulation (e.g. cognitive, motor,
and language) allow young children to shift toward more sophisticated
regulation strategies as well as to increase the range of strategies they use
in a variety of situations (Calkins & Hill, 2007).

use of more complex emotion regulation strategies in the face of highly
arousing situations may be related to better effectiveness in managing
emotional expression. For example, Grolnick, Bridges, and Connell (1996) investigated
the specific emotion regulation strategies employed by young children to
determine the use of complex strategies as well as the links between regulatory
attempts and efficacy of managing emotions. The study demonstrated that by 2
years of age, TD children engage in a wide range of emotion regulation
strategies during negative contexts, including complex behaviors. Children’s
behaviors were coded in 5-second intervals to capture emotional expression and
emotion regulation strategies during two stressful events: separation from
their mother and delay of a desired object. Emotion regulation strategies
included active engagement with a substitute toy, passive use of objects and
exploration, symbolic self-soothing, physically self-soothing, social support
seeking, and focus on desired object/searching for mother. Results indicated
that young children were capable of using all of the regulation strategies;
however, the use of symbolic self-soothing, which is a more complex strategy,
was low. Moreover, focus on delayed object/search for mother, a less adaptive
strategy, was associated with the display of more negative emotions, whereas
active engagement with a substitute toy, a more adaptive strategy, was
associated with fewer negative emotions.

preschool and early school age, children likely have developed the skills to engage
in sophisticated emotion regulation strategies, although they may not employ
them during negatively arousing situations as frequently as less sophisticated
strategies. Additionally, certain types of emotion regulation strategies may be
more efficient in managing negative emotions (Gilliom, Shaw, Beck, Schonberg, & Lukon, 2002). For example,
avoidance (e.g., moving away from task), suppression (e.g., inhibiting emotion
expression), or venting (vocalization or physical, e.g., crying or hitting an
object) are generally less efficient ways of dealing with emotional situations,
whereas cognitive reappraisal (e.g., reinterpreting the meaning of a situation),
social support seeking (e.g., asking for assistance from a parent), and
goal-direct behaviors (e.g., strategic efforts) tend to be more effective at
managing emotions (citations here).

Problematic patterns of emotions may
involve difficulties with displaying emotional intensity (e.g., overreaction or
underreaction), duration of emotions (e.g., emotions are too short or too long
for a given situation), emotion frequency (e.g., too frequently or too
infrequently), or type (e.g., inappropriate for the context) (Gross &
Jazaieri, 2014). Efforts to control the intensity or duration of emotions to
achieve a desired goal are related to the effective emotion regulation strategy

Concluding sentence here

Regulation in Children with ASD

with ASD may encounter challenges in regulating the intensity, duration,
frequency, or types of emotions and may instead display disruptive behaviors
such as tantrums or aggression (Sofronoff,
Attwood, Hinton, & Levin, 2007)

regulation difficulties may also involve factors such as awareness of emotions
and context, the understanding of goals, and choosing emotion regulation
strategies that will further a goal (Gross & Jazaieri 2014), and modifying
responses in socially appropriate manner. Children with ASD may be more likely
to encounter problems with such factors relative to their TD counterparts. For
example, Rieffe, Meerum Terwogt and
Kotronopoulou (2007) found children had difficulties with emotional awareness
such as identifying and differentiating between their own emotions.  

aged children with ASD may also experience problems with emotion regulation
abilities due to executive function deficits (McEnvoy & Rogers, 1993; Ozonoff
& Jensen, 1999;), cognitive delays (Sigman & Ungerer, 1984), sensory-processing
issues that require more effort to overcome high reactivity (Tomchek &
Dunn, 2007; Watling, Deitz, & White, 2001) to modify the
intensity or duration of emotion, or they might have difficulties with
understanding the mental states of others (Baron-Cohen, 2000), which might make
it difficult to appropriately regulate their emotions in social situations.

dysregulation, or failure to use efficient emotion regulation strategies (citation here for emotion
dysregulation), occurs more frequently in individuals with ASD compared
to TD individuals. Previous work using various methodologies including behavioral
observations, child-reports, and parent-reports indicate that young children as
well as adolescents and young adults with ASD use more maladaptive strategies
than TD peers during positive and negative situations (Garon et al., 2009; Jahromi,
Bryce, & Swanson, 2013; Jahromi, Meek, & Ober-Reynolds, 2012; Konstantareas
& Stewart, 2006; Rieffe et al., 2003; Samson, Huber, & Gross, 2012).

In an observational study, Konstantareas
and Stewart (2006) examined emotion regulation strategies of children
with and without ASD in the context of a frustrating task. Children between the
ages of 3 and 10 were presented with a desirable toy and
asked to return it after 6-10 seconds of playing with it. Children’s regulation
of their emotions was assessed on a continuum of less to more adaptive strategies
during a 15-seconds period following the removal of the toy. Strategies (listed from least
adaptive to more adaptive) included physical objection, venting,
defending, verbal objection, self-distraction, engaging in alternative
activity, and complying. The results revealed that children with ASD used less
adaptive strategies and employed a greater range of strategies compared to TD

Similarly, Jahromi and authors (2012) coded the emotion
regulation strategies used by 3-7-year-old children with and without ASD during
two frustrating tasks. In one task, children were presented with a desired toy
that locked in a transparent box and they were given an incorrect key and in
the other task, children were presented with puzzles that had incorrect pieces
and could not be solved. Emotion regulation behaviors, such as goal-directed
action, distraction, venting, and social support seeking, were coded in
10-second intervals as children interacted with the objects. Results revealed
that compared to TD peers, children with ASD used fewer adaptive (e.g., goal-directed
action and seeking social support) and more maladaptive (e.g., more avoidance
and venting) strategiesVV1 .
Children with ASD also had a higher intensity and duration of resignation

In addition to laboratory observations of children’s
behaviors, the methodology of child- and parent-reports of daily emotion
regulation strategies demonstrate different regulation profiles for children
with and without ASD (Samson,
Wells, Phillips, Hardan, & Gross, 2015).
In one study,
children and adolescents kept a daily diary for 10 days and recorded emotion
regulation strategies used during three emotion states: anger, anxiety, and amusementVV2 . Children reported the frequency of each
emotion, indicated which emotion regulation strategies (e.g., problem solving,
social support seeking, distraction, repetitive behaviors, cognitive
reappraisal, acceptance, expressive suppression) they used during each, and rated
how effective the strategies were. Parents reported on the general use and
efficacy of the same strategies across the three emotions. Results revealed that
children with ASD experienced more anger and anxiety (parent report) and less
amusement (parent and child reports) compared to TD peers. Additionally, children
with ASD engaged in increased maladaptive strategies (e.g., repetitive
behaviors) and decreased adaptive emotion regulation strategies (e.g., problem
solving and reappraisal) relative to TD peers (Samson
et al., 2015) across the emotion states, and they
were less effective at utilizing strategies such as problem solving, social support,
distraction (parent report).

these studies indicate
that across various contexts, children with ASD and TD children have different profiles
for their emotion regulation strategies. Children with ASD tend to use fewer
efficient and more maladaptive strategies relative to TD children. The apparent deficits
experienced by children with ASD are significant VV3 given
that ineffective emotion regulation strategies may underlie emotional and
behavioral problems (Mazefsky
et al., 2014), and that elevated levels of
emotional and behavioral symptoms are present in children with ASD relative to
TD children (Gadow et al., 2008; Kim, Szatmari, Bryson, Streiner, & Wilson, 2000)VV4 .

Concluding sentence

Socioemotional Correlates of Emotion Regulation and
Dysregulation in Children with and without ASD

Emotion regulation has been implicated
as a crucial factor in socioemotional functioning. For example, when
faced with daily emotionally arousing situations, use of efficient emotion
regulation strategies allows for appropriate responses during interactions with
peers or adaptive responses to novel situations (Gross,
1998, 2007; Silk, Steinberg, & Morris, 2003).
Successful regulation of emotions is vital for immediate adaptive functioning
as well as long-term socioemotional outcomes, whereas unsuccessful regulatory
attempts, or emotion dysregulation, may be one pathway in the development of
psychopathology for both individuals with and without ASD (Aldao,
Nolen-Hoeksema, & Schweizer, 2010; Cole, Michel, & Teti, 1994; Connor-Smith, Compas, Wadsworth, Thomsen, &
Saltzman, 2000; Mazefsky et?al., 2013; Mazefsky, Pelphrey, & Dahl,
2012; Mazefsky & White, 2014; Sofronoff, Beaumont, & Weiss, 2014).
Links between emotion dysregulation and psychopathology have been demonstrated
across the lifespan and early emotion regulation abilities may be a precursor
to the patterns of regulation in adolescence and adulthood (Pulkkinen, 1982; add citation here). Therefore, it is necessary
to further understand early patterns of regulation, associated factors, and socioemotional
outcomes that are impacted by it. VV5 

Past research indicates that the emotional and
behavioral problems, such as internalizing and externalizing behaviors,
experienced by children with ASD may be related to their maladaptive regulatory
efforts (Gadow, Devincent, Pomeroy, & Azizian, 2005; Simonoff et?al., 2008; Pouw, Rieffe, Stockmann, & Gadow, 2013; Zablotsky, Bradshaw, Anderson, & Law, 2013,
Scarpa & Reyes, 2011). Internalizing problems refer to
behaviors that are directed inward, such as anxiety, depression, and withdrawal
whereas externalizing problems refer to behaviors that are directed outward,
such as aggression, defiance, and impulsivity (Eisenberg
et al., 2001). In one study, children with ASD who used maladaptive emotion
regulation strategies, such as self-blame, had higher levels of self-reported
depressive symptoms and anxiety (Rieffe et al., 2011). Similarly, children and adolescents with ASD used
fewer adaptive regulation strategies (e.g., cognitive reappraisal) and more
maladaptive emotion regulations strategies (e.g., rumination) relative to TD peers, which
were correlated with increased levels of maladaptive behaviors for both
(Samson, Hardan, Lee, Phillips, & Gross 2015). Links between emotion dysregulation
and negative emotional and behavioral outcomes are also maintained over time. Preschool-
and school-aged children with ASD who engaged in maladaptive strategies
remained stable in their emotion dysregulation and had worse internalizing and
externalizing behaviors 10 months later (Berkovits, Eisenhower, &
Blacher, 2017).

regulation is also a factor associated with TD children’s social interactions
and peer relationships (Rubin, Coplan, Fox, and Calkins, 1995). Children’s capacity to effectively manage over or
under arousal and expression of emotions in socially appropriate ways are linked
to successful social interactions (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1992; Maszk, Eisenberg, & Guthrie, 1999; Wilson et al., 2007). For example, children need to
navigate social interactions with peers by learning to balance their internal
goals and the goals and demands of the social environment (add citation here). Additionally,
in the context of social interactions, emotional displays function as a means
for communicating information (Campos et al., 1989), therefore,
expressing too much or too little emotion has social
consequences. Children who are able to regulate strong emotions also engage in more
prosocial behaviors and have a higher social status (Eisenberg et al.,
1993, 2000).

In one study, emotion expression and adaptive
and maladaptive regulations as rated by teachers were examined in preschool-aged
children in relation to social outcomes. The results demonstrated that adaptive
regulation was positively associated with social skills, peer status, and
positive social functioning whereas maladaptive strategies and displaying
intense emotions were negatively related to these social outcomes in (Eisenberg et al. 1993). Similarly,
individual differences in dysregulated behavior as rated by teachers was found
in a preschool classroom, and emotion dysregulation were linked to peer
conflict and classroom adjustment (Miller et al., 2004VV6 ).
 Concluding sentence here

Emotion Coregulation between Parents and Children with and
without ASD

ability to regulate emotionally arousing situations emerges in the first year
of life and continues to develop throughout childhood (add citation here). Children learn how to
use effective emotion regulation strategies within the context of social relationships
with their parents. Parents and children mutually regulate their emotional
experiences in a process of emotion coregulation during social exchanges (Cole,
Martin, & Dennis, 2004; Feldman, 2003; Field, 1994). These early
moment-to-moment interactions, such as the specific
behaviors parents engage in to facilitate regulation in children during highly
arousing situations, shape the development of emotion regulation skills and lay the foundation for later emotional
functioning (add citation here).

 Initially, parents are the primary agents in
providing external regulation to infants given their limited repertoire of
regulation strategies as well as emerging capacities in other domains that
underlie emotion regulation skills (add citation here). Young children rely on their parents to
modify their emotional experiences (e.g., child is physically soothed by being
held) (Kopp, 1982). As children become older, they
develop a larger repertoire of strategies and increasingly use their own
internal regulation strategies (e.g., shifting attention to a different play
object when the desired object is not available) (Calkins & Hill, 2007; Cicchetti,
Ganiban, & Barnett, 1991). Although preschool age is marked by a period of
significant growth in emotion regulation and related abilities, parents
continue to play pivotal roles in shaping emotion regulation development during
parent-child interactions (Jahromi
& Stifter 2008; Williford et al. 2013; Denham et al., 2011; Kopp 1989).

Broadly, the family environment provides
a social context for children to learn and practice emotion regulation
strategies and is instrumental in children’s development of efficient emotion
regulation capacities (Morris, Silk, Steinberg, Myers,
& Robinson, 2007). Parents influence emotion regulation through several
direct and indirect mechanisms including modeling appropriate behaviors,
providing emotional coaching (e.g., labeling and validating emotions), teaching
specific regulation strategies (e.g., redirecting attention and complex cognitive
strategies), monitoring and responding to child’s cues, providing soothing
strategies when child seeks comfort, and parenting styles (e.g., responsiveness
and sensitivity to child cues) (Feldman, Dollberg,
& Nadam, 2011; Morris et al., 2011, 2007). Repeated, moment-to-moment
interactions between parent-child dyads across various contexts allow children
to organize and make sense of their own emotions, learn to use strategies to
modulate negative emotions, and internalize emotion regulation strategies (Mandelbaum & Shapiro, 2011; Sroufe, 1996).

Previous work conducted on observations
of emotion regulation strategies in children with ASD has mainly focused on the
level of the individual rather than on a dyadic level. Prior studies also have been limited to the
examination of …..and need to examine how children react to emotionally
arousing situations in the present of parents and in relation to parent’s
behaviors, and in turn how parents responds to their children’s behaviors. For
children with ASD, the support and scaffolding provided by parents may be
especially important in the development of efficient and sophisticated
regulation strategies. Therefore, it is important to understand emotion
coregulation between parents and children at the dyadic level.


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