Preschool children's expression of emotion in the context of interaction with friends and acquaintances was examined in relation to teacher rated social behavior. Data were collected from 112 preschool children (54 boys, 58 girls; 66 European American, 19 African American, 17 Hispanic, and 10 other ethnicity). Children's friends were identified based on mutual liked most nominations. Naturalistic observations of children's emotional expressiveness during interactions with friends and acquiantances in preschool were conducted. Teachers provided ratings of children's prosocial behavior, aggression, and withdrawn behavior. Data revealed that children who expressed more positive emotion with friends and acquaintances were rated by teachers as being more prosocial and less aggressive. Boys, but not girls, who expressed more anger with acquaintances were rated by teachers as being less prosocial and more aggressive. Children who displayed more anger with acquaintances were rated by teachers as less withdrawn, and children who displayed more fear with acquaintances were rated by teachers as more withdrawn. The findings suggest that children display different patterns of emotional expressiveness when interacting with friends than they do when interacting with acquaintances, and specific emotions expressed with friends and acquaintance relate in unique ways to teacher's report of children's social competence with peers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science