Advertisement

Wait and See: Observational Learning of Distraction as an Emotion Regulation Strategy in 22-Month-Old Toddlers

  • Johanna Schoppmann
  • Silvia Schneider
  • Sabine SeehagenEmail author
Article
  • 130 Downloads

Abstract

Emotion regulation strategies have been linked to the development of mental disorders. In this experiment, we investigated if imitation is an effective way of learning to increase the usage of the emotion regulation strategy ‘distraction’ for 22-month-old toddlers. Toddlers in two experimental conditions participated in two waiting situations intended to elicit frustration, with a modeling situation between the first and the second waiting situation. In the modeling situation, toddlers observed how either a familiar model (parent) or an unfamiliar model (experimenter) demonstrated the use of distraction as a strategy to cope with a frustrating situation. Toddlers in an additional age-matched control condition did not witness any modeling between the two waiting situations. Analyses revealed that toddlers in both experimental conditions combined distracted themselves more in the second waiting situation than did toddlers in the control condition. There were no differences with regard to the familiarity of the model. These results suggest that providing structured observational learning situations may be a useful way to teach toddlers about the use of specific emotion regulation strategies.

Keywords

Emotion regulation Toddlers Temperament Imitation Distraction 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all families who participated in this study. Thank you to Cordula Eichfeld, Mareike Groene, Laura Drietelaar, Gina Hassel, and Lena Liedmann for help with data collection and coding. The present study was supported by a grant from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; SCHN 415/8-1;AOBJ:632124).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

All parents provided written informed consent prior to participating in the present study.

References

  1. Abela, J. R., Hankin, B. L., Sheshko, D. M., Fishman, M. B., & Stolow, D. (2012). Multi-wave prospective examination of the stress-reactivity extension of response styles theory of depression in high-risk children and early adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(2), 277–287.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9563-x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Aldao, A., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2012). When are adaptive strategies most predictive of psychopathology? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121(1), 276–281.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023598.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Aldao, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion-regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(2), 217–237.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2009.11.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandura, A., & McClelland, D. C. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: NJ: Prentice- Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Barnat, S. B., Klein, P. J., & Meltzoff, A. N. (1996). Deferred imitation across changes in context and object: Memory and generalization in 14-month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 19(2), 241–251.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(96)90015-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Barr, R., & Hayne, H. (2003). It's not what you know, It's who you know: Older siblings facilitate imitation during infancy. International Journal of Early Years Education, 11(1), 7–21.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0966976032000066055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Braungart, J. M., & Stifter, C. A. (1991). Regulation of negative reactivity during the strange situation: Temperament and attachment in 12-month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 14(3), 349–364.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0163-6383(91)90027-P.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bridges, L. J., Grolnick, W. S., & Connell, J. P. (1997). Infant emotion regulation with mothers and fathers. Infant Behavior and Development, 20(1), 47–57.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(97)90060-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burke, J. D., Pardini, D. A., & Loeber, R. (2008). Reciprocal relationships between parenting behavior and disruptive psychopathology from childhood through adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36(5), 679–692.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-008-9219-7.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Calkins, S. D., & Johnson, M. C. (1998). Toddler regulation of distress to frustrating events: Temperamental and maternal correlates. Infant Behavior and Development, 21(3), 379–395.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(98)90015-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Calkins, S. D., Gill, K. L., Johnson, M. C., & Smith, C. L. (1999). Emotional reactivity and emotional regulation strategies as predictors of social behavior with peers during toddlerhood. Social Development, 8, 310–334.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9507.00098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cole, P. M., Tan, P. Z., Hall, S. E., Zhang, Y., Crnic, K. A., Blair, C. B., & Li, R. (2011). Developmental changes in anger expression and attention focus: Learning to wait. Developmental Psychology, 47(4), 1078–1089.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023813.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Costello, E. J., Compton, S. N., Keeler, G., & Angold, A. (2003). Relationships between poverty and psychopathology: A natural experiment. Jama, 290(15), 2023–2029.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.290.15.2023.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Devouche, E. (2004). Mother versus stranger: A triadic situation of imitation at the end of the first year of life. Infant and Child Development, 13(1), 35–48.  https://doi.org/10.1002/icd.334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diaz, A., & Eisenberg, N. (2015). The process of emotion regulation is different from individual differences in emotion regulation: Conceptual arguments and a focus on individual differences. Psychological Inquiry, 26, 37–47.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2015.959094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Diener, M. L., & Mangelsdorf, S. C. (1999). Behavioral strategies for emotion regulation in toddlers: Associations with maternal involvement and emotional expressions. Infant Behavior and Development, 22(4), 569–583.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(00)00012-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dollar, J. M., & Stifter, C. A. (2012). Temperamental surgency and emotion regulation as predictors of childhood social competence. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112, 178–194.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2012.02.004.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. A. (1992). Emotion, regulation, and the development of social competence (M. S. Clark Ed. emotion and social behavior. Review of personality and social psychology ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc..Google Scholar
  19. Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. L., & Eggum, N. D. (2010). Emotion- related self-regulation and its relation to children’s maladjustment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6, 495–525.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.121208.131208.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Eyden, J., Winsper, C., Wolke, D., Broome, M. R., & MacCallum, F. (2016). A systematic review of the parenting and outcomes experienced by offspring of mothers with borderline personality pathology: Potential mechanisms and clinical implications. Clinical Psychology Review, 47, 85–105.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2016.04.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A.-G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193146.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Feldman, R., Dollberg, D., & Nadam, R. (2011). The expression and regulation of anger in toddlers: Relations to maternal behavior and mental representations. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(2), 310–320.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.02.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Feng, X., Keenan, K., Hipwell, A. E., Henneberger, A. K., Rischall, M. S., Butch, J., Coyne, C., Boeldt, D., Hinze, A. K., & Babinski, D. E. (2009). Longitudinal associations between emotion regulation and depression in preadolescent girls: Moderation by the caregiving environment. Developmental Psychology, 45(3), 798–808.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014617.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Friedlmeier, W., & Holodynski, M. (1999). Emotionale Entwicklung. Funktion, Regulation und soziokultureller Kontext von Emotionen. Heidelberg: Spektrum.Google Scholar
  25. George, D., & Mallery, P. (2003). SPSS for Windows Step by Step: A Simple Guide and Reference, 11.0 Update: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  26. Gilliom, M., Shaw, D. S., Beck, J. E., Schonberg, M. A., & Lukon, J. L. (2002). Anger regulation in disadvantaged preschool boys: Strategies, antecedents, and the development of self-control. Developmental Psychology, 38(2), 222–235.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0012-1649.38.2.222.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Grolnick, W. S., Bridges, L. J., & Connell, J. P. (1996). Emotion regulation in two-year-olds: Strategies and emotional expression in four contexts. Child Development, 67(3), 928–941.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1996.tb01774.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Grolnick, W. S., Kurowski, C. O., McMenamy, J. M., Rivkin, I., & Bridges, L. J. (1998). Mothers' strategies for regulating their toddlers' distress. Infant Behavior and Development, 21(3), 437–450.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(98)90018-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 271–299.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.2.3.271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gross, J. J. (2014). Emotion regulation: Conceptual and empirical foundations. In J. J. Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (pp. 3–20). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  31. Gross, J. J. (2015). Emotion regulation: Current status and future prospects. Psychological Inquiry, 26(1), 1–26.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2014.940781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gust, N., Petermann, F., & Koglin, U. (2015). Wissen über Emotionsregulationsstrategien, Verhaltensauffälligkeiten und prosoziales Verhalten im Vorschulalter. Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie, 64(3), 188–205.  https://doi.org/10.13109/prkk.2015.64.3.188.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hannesdottir, D. K., & Ollendick, T. H. (2007). The role of emotion regulation in the treatment of child anxiety disorders. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 10(3), 275–293.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-007-0024-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Hayne, H., MacDonald, S., & Barr, R. (1997). Developmental changes in the specificity of memory over the second year of life. Infant Behavior and Development, 20(2), 233–245.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(97)90025-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hayne, H., Boniface, J., & Barr, R. (2000). The development of declarative memory in human infants: Age-related changes in deffered imitation. Behavioral Neuroscience, 114(1), 77–83.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0735-7044.114.1.77.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Helmsen, J., & Petermann, F. (2010). Emotionsregulationsstrategien und aggressives Verhalten im Kindergartenalter. Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie, 59(59), 775–791.  https://doi.org/10.13109/prkk.2010.59.10.775.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593–602.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.593.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Kim, J., & Cicchetti, D. (2010). Longitudinal pathways linking child maltreatment, emotion regulation, peer relations, and psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(6), 706–716.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02202.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Kochanska, G., Coy, K. C., Tjebkes, T. L., & Husarek, S. J. (1998). Individual differences in emotionality in infancy. Child Development, 69(2), 375–390.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1132172.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Kochanska, G., Murray, K. T., & Harlan, E. T. (2000). Effortful control in early childhood: Continuity and change, antecedents, and implications for social development. Developmental Psychology, 36(2), 220–232.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.36.2.220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Kochanska, G., Coy, K. C., & Murray, K. T. (2001). The development of self-regulation in the first four years of life. Child Development, 72, 1091–1111.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00336.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Kopp, C. B. (1989). Regulation of distress and negative emotions: A developmental view. Developmental Psychology, 25(3), 343–354.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.25.3.343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McLaughlin, K. A., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Mennin, D. S., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2011). Emotion dysregulation and adolescent psychopathology: A prospective study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49(9), 544–554.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2011.06.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Morris, A. S., Silk, J. S., Steinberg, L., Myers, S. S., & Robinson, L. R. (2007). The role of the family context in the development of emotion regulation. Social Development (Oxford, England), 16(2), 361–388.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00389.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Morris, A. S., Criss, M. M., Silk, J. S., & Houltberg, B. J. (2017). The impact of parenting on emotion regulation during childhood and adolescence. Child Development Perspectives, 11(4), 233–238.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Olson, S. L., Sameroff, A. J., Kerr, D. C. R., Lopez, N. L., & Wellman, H. M. (2005). Developmental foundations of externalizing problems in young children: The role of effortful control. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 25–45.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579405050029.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Papoušek, M., & von Hofacker, N. (1998). Persistent crying in early infancy: A non-trivial condition of risk for the developing mother–infant relationship. Child: Care, Health and Development., 24, 395–424.  https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2214.2002.00091.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Peake, P. K., Hebl, M., & Mischel, W. (2002). Strategic attention deployment for delay of gratification in working and waiting situations. Developmental Psychology, 38, 313–326.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.38.2.313.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Phillips, D. A., & Shonkoff, J. P. (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  50. Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2000). Developing mechanisms of self-regulation. Development and Psychopathology, 12(03), 427–441.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579400003096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Poulin-Dubois, D., Brooker, I., & Polonia, A. (2011). Infants prefer to imitate a reliable person. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(2), 303–309.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.01.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Putnam, S. P., Gartstein, M. A., & Rothbart, M. K. (2006). Measurement of fine-grained aspects of toddler temperament: The early childhood behavior questionnaire. Infant Behavior and Development, 29(3), 386–401.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2006.01.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Räihä, H., Lehtonen, L., Huhtala, V., Saleva, K., & Korvenranta, H. (2002). Excessively crying infant in the family: Mother–infant, father–infant and mother–father interaction. Child: Care, Health and Development, 28(5), 419–429.  https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2214.2002.00292.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Roque, L., & Veríssimo, M. (2011). Emotional context, maternal behavior and emotion regulation. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(4), 617–626.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.06.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Rothbart, M. K., & Bates, J. E. (1998). Temperament. In W. Damon (series Ed.) & N. Eisenberg (Vol.Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (5th ed., pp.105–176). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  56. Rothbart, M. K., & Bates, J. E. (2006). Temperament. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (series Eds.) & N. Eisenberg (Vol. Ed.). In Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (6th ed., pp. 99–166). New York: John Wiley.  https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470147658.chpsy0303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rueda, M. R., Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2005). The development of executive attention: Contributions to the emergence of self-regulation. Developmental Neuropsychology, 28(2), 573–594.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326942dn2802_2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Rydell, A.-M., Berlin, L., & Bohlin, G. (2003). Emotionality, emotion regulation, and adaptation among 5- to 8-year-old children. Emotion, 3(1), 30–47.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.3.1.30.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Schmitt, K., Gold, A., & Rauch, W. A. (2012). Defizitäre adaptive Emotionsregulation bei Kindern mit ADHS. Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie, 40(2), 95–103.  https://doi.org/10.1024/1422-4917/a000156.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Seehagen, S., & Herbert, J. S. (2010). The role of demonstrator familiarity and language cues on infant imitation from television. Infant Behavior and Development, 33(2), 168–175.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2009.12.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Silk, J. S., Steinberg, L., & Morris, A. S. (2003). Adolescents' emotion regulation in daily life: Links to depressive symptoms and problem behavior. Child Development, 74(6), 1869–1880.  https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1467-8624.2003.00643.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Spinrad, T. L., Eisenberg, N., Gaertner, B., Popp, T., Smith, C. L., Kupfer, A., Greving, K., Liew, J., & Hofer, C. (2007). Relations of maternal socialization and toddlers' effortful control to children's adjustment and social competence. Developmental Psychology, 43(5), 1170–1186.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.43.5.1170.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  63. Steinberg, L. (2005). Cognitive and affective development in adolescence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(2), 69–74.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2004.12.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Steyer, R., Schwenkmezger, P., Notz, P., & Eid, M. (1997). Der multidimensionale Befindlichkeitsfragebogen [the multidimensional affect rating scale]. Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  65. Suveg, C., & Zeman, J. (2004). Emotion regulation in children with anxiety disorders. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(4), 750–759.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp3304_10.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Thompson, R. A., & Calkins, S. D. (1996). The double-edged sword: Emotional regulation for children at risk. Development and Psychopathology, 8(01), 163–182.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579400007021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zmyj, N., Buttelmann, D., Carpenter, M., & Daum, M. M. (2010). The reliability of a model influences 14-month-olds’ imitation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 106(4), 208–220.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2010.03.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Schoppmann
    • 1
  • Silvia Schneider
    • 1
  • Sabine Seehagen
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

Personalised recommendations