Children’s Emotional Self-Regulation in the Context of Adversity and the Association with Academic Functioning

  • Frédérique Michaud Dumont
  • George M. Tarabulsy
  • Audette Sylvestre
  • Julien VoisinEmail author
Original Article


The aims of this study were to study reciprocal interactions between emotion regulation skills, association of these skills with children’s school functioning and how these underlying skills develop in children in the context of adversity. 48 children (mean age = 5 years 8.2 months) were divided into an adversity risk group and a low-risk group. Emotional regulation was assessed via an emotion identification task, a Stroop task and near-infrared spectroscopy. School functioning was documented using the Social Skills Improvement System with parents and teachers. During the Stroop task, there was a difference in the activation of the right Brodmann area 8 in both groups. During the emotion regulation tasks, BA8L and BA9R showed activation and an association with school functioning. These results contribute to the accuracy of cerebral mapping associated with emotion regulation and support its potential contribution in preventive programs aimed at the functioning of children at risk of school difficulties.


Emotion regulation School functioning Adversity Near-infrared spectroscopy Executive functions 



This study was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds de recherche québécois sur la société et la culture and the Centre de recherche universitaire sur les jeunes et les familles. We also thank Jacinthe Bernier, Audrey St-Pierre, Vincent Paquin, Émilie Gontier, Kim Latour and Mélanie St-Laurent for research assistance. Of course, we thank the children and their families for their generous participation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Ahtola A, Silinskas G, Poikonen PL, Kontoniemi M, Niemi P, Nurmi JE (2011) Transition to formal schooling: do transition practices matter for academic performance? Early Child Res Q 26:295–302Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Duval S, Bouchard C (2013) La transition de l’éducation préscolaire vers l’enseignement primaire et l’ajustement socioscolaire des élèves de première année. INITIO 1:18–29Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pianta RC, Stuhlman M (2004) Teacher-child relationships and children’s success in the first years of school. Sch Psychol Rev 33:444–458Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    D’Amours V (2010) Réseau d’information pour la réussite éducative. Dossier thématique de la rentrée. Les transitions scolaires.rire.ctreq.qc.caGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Duncan GJ, Dowsett CJ, Claessens A, Magnuson K, Huston AC, Klebanov P et al (2007) School readiness and later achievement. Dev Psychol 43:1428–1446Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ruel J, Moreau AC, Bérubé A, April J (2015) Les pratiques de transition lors de la rentrée des enfants au préscolaire. Évaluation du « Guide pour soutenir une première transition scolaire de qualité » . Rapport final de recherche. Gatineau, Québec: Université du Québec en Outaouais et Pavillon du ParcGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Entwisle DR, Alexander KL, Olson LS (2005) First grade and educational attainment by age 22: a new story. Am J Sociol 110(5):1458–1502Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gutman LM, Sameroff AJ, Cole R (2003) Academic growth curve trajectories from 1st grade to 12th grade: effects of multiple social risk factors and preschool child factors. Dev Psychol 39:777–790Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Blair C (2002) School readiness. Integrating cognition and emotion in a neurobiological conceptualization of children’s functioning at school entry. Am Psychol 57(2):111–127Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Eisenberg N, Fabes RA, Guthrie IK, Reiser M (2000) Dispositional emotionality and regulation: their role in predicting quality of social functioning. J Pers Soc Psychol 78(1):136–157Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Eisenberg N, Sulik MJ (2012) Emotion Related Self-Regulation in Children. Teach Psychol 39(1):77–83Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kochanska G, Murray KT, Harlan ET (2000) Effortful control in early childhood: continuity and change, antecedents, and implications for social development. Dev Psychol 36(2):220–232Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zumbrunn S, Tadlock J, Roberts ED (2011) Self-regulation and motivation: a review of the literature. Communication presented at Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium, Richmond, VAGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zeman J, Shipman K, Suveg C (2002) Anger and sadness regulation: predictions to internalizing and externalizing symptoms in children. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 3(31):393–398Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Spinrad TL, Eisenberg N, Gaertner BM (2007) Measures of effortful regulation for young children. Infant Ment Health J 28(6):606–626Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Blair C, Raver CC (2015) School readiness and self-regulation: a developmental psychobiological approach. Annu Rev Psychol 66:711–731Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hamre BK, Pianta RC (2001) Early teacher–child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Dev 72(2):625–638Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    McClelland MM, Cameron CE, Connor CM, Farris CL, Jewkes AM, Morrison FJ (2007) Links between behavioral regulation and preschoolers’ literacy, vocabulary, and math skills. Dev Psychol 43(4):947–959Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rimm-Kaufman SE, Curby TW, Grimm KJ, Nathanson L, Brock LL (2009) The contribution of children’s self-regulation and classroom quality to children’s adaptive behaviors in the kindergarten classroom. Dev Psychol 45(4):958–972Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    McIntyre LL, Blacher J, Baker BL (2006) The transition to school: adaptation in young children with and without intellectual disability. J Intellect Disabil Res 50(5):349–361Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Cole PM et al (2004) Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: methodological challenges and directions for child development research. Child Dev 75(2):317–333Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Barkley RA (1997) ADHD and the nature of self-control. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dubé M (2015) Les émotions chez les enfants—Partie 1. Educatout. Repéré à
  24. 24.
    Barkley RA (1997) Behavioural inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: constructing a unifying theory of ADHD. Psychol Bull 121:65–94Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Legenbauer T et al (2018) Proper emotion recognition, dysfunctional emotion regulation: the mystery of affective dysregulation in adolescent psychiatric inpatients. Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatrie Psychother 46(1):7–16Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Shaw P et al (2014) Emotion dysregulation in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Psychiatry 171(3):276–293Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Marsh AA, Blair RJR (2008) Deficits in facial affect recognition among antisocial populations: a meta-analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 32(3):454–465Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Deák GO, Narasimham G (2003) Is perseveration caused by inhibition failure? Evidence from preschool children’s inferences about word meanings. J Exp Child Psychol 86(3):194–222Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Williams BR, Ponesse JS, Schachar RJ, Logan GD, Tannock R (1999) Development of inhibitory control across the life span. Dev Psychol 35:205–213Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bryce D et al (2011) The development of inhibitory control: an averaged and single-trial lateralized readiness potential study. NeuroImage 57(3):671–685Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Alloway TP, Gathercole SE, Adams A, Willis C, Eaglen R, Lamont E (2005) Working memory and phonological awareness as predictors of progress towards early learning goals at school entry. Br J Dev Psychol 23:417–426Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Swanson HL (2006) Cognitive processes that underlie mathematical precociousness in young children. J Exp Child Psychol 93(3):239–264Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Foreman DM et al (2003) How should we measure social disadvantage in clinic settings? Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 12(6):308–312Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Vanaelst B, De Vriendt T, Ahrens W, Bammann K, Hadjigeorgiou C, Konstabel K, Lissner L, Michels N, Molnar D, Moreno LA, Reisch L, Siani A, Sioen I, De Henauw S (2012) Prevalence of psychosomatic and emotional symptoms in european school-aged children and its relationship with childhood adversities: results from the idefics study. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 21(5):253–265Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Lafromboise TD, Hoyt DR, Oliver L, Whitbeck LB (2006) Family, community, and school influences on resilience among american indian adolescents in the upper midwest. J Commun Psychol 34(2):193–209Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Olsson CA, Bond L, Burns JM, Vella-Brodric DA, Sawyer SM (2003) Adolescent resilience: aconcept analysis. J Adolesc 26:1–11Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Pinel-Jacquemin S, Zaouche-Gaudron C, Troupel O, Raynaud JP, Kelly-Irving M (2016) Adversités, enfance et famille Apports d’une approche écosystémique. Revue Éduc Santé Soc 2(2):93–111Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    De Bellis MD (2005) The psychobiology of neglect. Child Maltreatment 10(2):150–172Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Lupien SJ et al (2009) Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nat Rev Neurosci 10(6):434–445Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Lind T (2018) Intervening to enhance emotion regulation: Early childhood adversity, parent-child mutual positive affect, and later child regulation capabilities. Doctoral thesis, University of Delaware. Repéré à.
  41. 41.
    Luke N, Banerjee R (2013) Differentiated associations between childhood maltreatment experiences and social understanding: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Dev Rev 33(1):1–28Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Roy S, Roy C, Éthier-Majcher C, Fortin I, Belin P, Gosselin F (2007) STOIC: a database of dynamic and static faces expressing highly recognizable emotions. Repéré à.
  43. 43.
    Wright I, Waterman M, Prescott H, Murdoch-Eaton D (2003) A new stroop-like measure of inhibitory function development: typical developmental trends. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 44(4):561–575Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Gresham F, Elliott NS (2008) Social skills improvement system (SSIS) rating scales. Pearson, BloomingtonGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Terrisse B, Larose F, Lefebvre MF (1999) Le questionnaire sur l’environnement familial (QEF). Repéré à.
  46. 46.
    Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport.(2015). Guides des 2014–2017: programme d’assistance financière à l’accessibilité aux camps de vacances (PAFACV). Repéré à.
  47. 47.
    Lavallée L, Pereboom D, Grignon C (2002) Access to postsecondry education and labour market transitions of postsecondary education. Rapport rédigé pour le compte de développement de Ressources Humaines CanadaGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Sutcliffe AG et al (2012) The health and development of children born to older mothers in the United Kingdom: observational study using longitudinal cohort data. BMJ 345:e5116Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Bernardi F, Radl J (2014) The long-term consequences of parental divorce for children’s educational attainment. Demogr Res 30:1653–1680Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Hetherington EM, Stanley Hagan M, Anderson ED (1989) Family transitions: a child’s perspective. Am Psychol 24:303–312Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Schneider W, Eschman A, Zuccolotto A (2007). E-Prime (2.0) [Logiciel]. Pittsburgh: Psychologie Software Tools, IncGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Wright I, Waterman M, Prescott H, Murdoch-Eaton D (2003) A new stroop-like measure of inhibitory function development: typical developmental trends. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 44(4):561–575. Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Chakravarti S, Srivastava S, Mittnacht JCA (2008) Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in children. Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth 12:70–79Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Hyde DC, Boas DA, Blair C, Carey S (2010) Near-infrared spectroscopy shows right parietal specialization for number in pre-verbal infants. Neuroimage 53(2):647–652Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Sabra D (2015) La spectroscopie proche infrarouge: une technique d’imagerie trop peu connu! Repéré à.
  56. 56.
    Heinz S, Benner C, Spann N, Bertolino E et al (2010) Simple combinations of lineage-determining transcription factors prime cis-regulatory elements required for macrophage and B cell identities. Mol Cell 38(4):576–589Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Volz KG et al (2005) Variants of uncertainty in decision-making and their neural correlates. Brain Res Bull 67(5):403–412Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Pollak SD, Messner M, Kistler DJ, Cohn JF (2009) Development of perceptual expertise in emotion recognition. Cognition 110(2):242–247. Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Pollak SD, Cicchetti D, Hornung K, Reed A (2000) Recognizing emotion in faces: developmental effects of child abuse and neglect. Dev Psychol 36:679–688Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Lind T (2018) Intervening to enhance emotion regulation: Early childhood adversity, parent-child mutual positive affect, and later child regulation capabilities. Doctoral thesis, University of Delaware. Repéré à.
  61. 61.
    Buhle JT et al (2014) Cognitive reappraisal of emotion: a meta-analysis of human neuroimaging studies. Cereb Cortex 24(11):2981–2990Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Nee D, Wager T, Jonides J (2007) Interference resolution: insights from a meta-analysis of neuroimaging tasks. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 7:1–17Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Neta M et al (2017) The impact of uncertain threat on affective bias: individual differences in response to ambiguity. Emotion 17(8):1137–1143Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Masten AS (2011) Resilience in children threatened by extreme adversity: frameworks for research, practice and translational synergy. Dev Psychopathol 23:493–506Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université LavalQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale (CIRRIS)QuebecCanada
  3. 3.Centre de recherche universitaire sur les jeunes et les familles (CRUJeF)QuebecCanada

Personalised recommendations