Relations among emotion knowledge, social competence and aggression
Schmitt, Tina Marie
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This project examined the connections among 51 preschoolers ( M = 53.25 months) emotion knowledge, normative conceptions of sociomoral affect, social competence, and aggression. Naturalistic observational assessments were made of children's peer aggression. In addition, measures were obtained of children's emotion knowledge, normative conceptions of sociomoral affect, social skills and peer acceptance. Collectively, peer acceptance, as rated by peers, and social skills, as rated by teachers, were referred to as social competence. Additionally, the relations among the three components of emotion knowledge (emotion recognition, emotion labeling and situational affect) were assessed.;As expected, preschoolers' abilities to recognize and label emotions and their understanding of situational affect were significantly interrelated although the association between situational affect and emotion labeling was significantly greater than the correlations involving either emotion recognition and emotion labeling or emotion recognition and situational affect. Furthermore, children's normative conceptions of sociomoral affect involving victimizers but not victims were associated with these emotion-related abilities.;Results indicated, as expected, that children with a greater understanding of emotions were both less aggressive and more accepted by peers, and that these connections held both for the overall emotion knowledge task and for each of the separate emotion abilities within that task (i.e. emotion labeling, emotion recognition, and situational affect). By contrast, children with more normative conceptions of sociomoral affect were less likely to be the target of aggression, but conceptions of sociomoral affect were not linked with children's peer acceptance or initiation of aggression. Finally, children who initiated relatively more aggressive acts were less accepted by their peers and were judged to be less socially competent by their teachers.