Individual differences in expressive control during a disappointment were examined in relation to preschool boys' and girls' concurrent behavior and to their risk for developing disruptive behavior disorders. A disappointment paradigm was used to examine expressive control in 79 4- and 5-year-old children with low, moderate, or high risk. Boys at risk showed more negative emotion in the experimenter's (E's) presence than low-risk boys. In E's absence, low-risk boys' negative emotion was equivalent to at-risk boys'. Boys' negative emotion, particularly anger, predicted their disruptiveness during the disappointment and general symptoms of oppositionality. At-risk girls differed from low-risk girls after E left, displaying less negative emotion than low-risk girls. Girls' minimization of negative emotion predicted attention deficit and conduct disorder symptoms. Gender-specific expressive control is discussed in terms of gender differences in emotion regulation and psychopathology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies