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Development and Psychometric Properties of the Youth Emotions Scale

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Accurately measuring children’s emotion reactivity and regulation is important both for advancing theoretical understanding of child development and for identifying and monitoring children who have difficulties with emotional competence. Children have a uniquely important perspective on their own internal experiences of emotion reactivity and regulation that may differ from observers. However, there are few child-report measures of emotion reactivity and regulation. The goal of the present study was to develop and assess the psychometric properties of a child self-report measure of emotion reactivity and regulation (Youth Emotions Scale; YES) for elementary school-aged children. Examination of psychometric properties in a sample of 277 children (5 to 12 years old) oversampled for risk for emotional difficulties indicated good validity and reliability. Factor analyses indicated two theory-consistent factors (Reactivity and Emotion Regulation Strategies), both of which showed convergent and concurrent validity based on parent and child self-report of related constructs. This scale has both clinical and research utility, as having a brief measure of both emotion reactivity and regulation can aid clinicians and researchers in attaining relevant information without overtaxing children with multiple long measures. Future research should explore psychometric properties of the YES across different samples with different characteristics; if its validity continues to be supported, clinicians and researchers can utilize the YES to capture children’s internal experiences of emotion reactivity and regulation in treatment and research.

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For inquiries regarding data availability, please contact the corresponding author.


  1. The FEEL-KJ (Grob & Smolenski, 2005) and Emotion Regulation Items for Children (Rydell et al., 2007) are self-report measures of emotion regulation for children in German and Swedish, respectively.

  2. Convergent and discriminant validity were tested in a subsample of 5- to 12-year-old children, but the factor structure and reliability was only tested in children ages 8 to 14.


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We would like to thank Lauren Haliczer, PhD for creating the name and acronym for the Youth Emotion Scale (YES).


The research was partially funded by a University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Research on Families Dissertation Fellowship Award, and University of Massachusetts Amherst Dissertation Research Grant.

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Authors and Affiliations



All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation and data collection were performed by Sungha Kang, Jason Kahn, Alyssa Peechatka, Rosanna Breaux, Jennifer M. McDermott and Elizabeth A. Harvey. Analyses were performed by Shannon Gair and supervised by Elizabeth Harvey. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Shannon Gair and Elizabeth Harvey and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rosanna Breaux.

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Ethics Approval

This study was approved by the Human Research IRB of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Informed consent and assent was obtained from all individual participants in the study.

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The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.

Experiment Participants

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.

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Gair, S.L., Kang, S., Kahn, J. et al. Development and Psychometric Properties of the Youth Emotions Scale. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 45, 612–627 (2023).

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