Children’s depressive symptoms and their regulation of negative affect in response to vignette-depicted emotion-eliciting events

A.H.A. Reijntjes, G.T.M. Stegge, M. Meerum Terwogt, E. Hurkens

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Abstract

The present study examined the relationship between sub-clinical depressive symptoms and children's anticipated cognitive and behavioral reactions to two written vignettes depicting emotion-eliciting stressors (i.e., fight with one's best friend and failure at a roller blade contest). Participants (N = 244) ranging in age between 10 and 13 were presented each vignette and then asked to rate their anticipated utilization of each of seven emotion-regulation strategies (ERs), along with the anticipated mood enhancement effects of each strategy. In addition, ratings of participants' perceived coping efficacy to manage the stressful situation were collected. Results indicated that participants were more likely to endorse ERs for which they have greater confidence in their mood enhancement effects. Moreover, marked differences were observed between ratings for conceptually distinct cognitive ERs. Consistent with expectations, results revealed that participants displaying higher levels of depressive symptoms were more likely to endorse cognitive and behavioral ERs that are negative, passive, and/or avoidant in nature. Children's ratings of the anticipated mood enhancement effects of several ERs were inversely related to their level of depressive symptoms, as was their perceived self-efficacy to manage the stressor. © 2007 The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Volume31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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