Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 247–266

Continuity in Emotion Knowledge from Preschool to Middle-Childhood and Relation to Emotion Socialization

  • Pamela W. Garner


This longitudinal study examined the preschool correlates of middle school children's knowledge of emotional display rules. Participants included 50 children (29 girls) who were seen at preschoolage and again 4 years later. A total of 91% of the children were Caucasian, 4.5% were Mexican American, and 4.5% were Asian American. During the preschool period, measures included children's knowledge of facial expressions, knowledge of emotion-eliciting situations, and emotional role-taking ability. In addition, the rate at which their mothers explained the causes of emotions was assessed. Four years later, the children's knowledge of emotional display rules was assessed. The display rule measures included expression regulation knowledge (i.e., whether the children altered the facial expression relative to the internal feeling without providing a motive), self-protective display rules, and prosocial display rules. Results revealed that preschoolers' situation knowledge was a negative predictor of expression regulation knowledge and that emotional role-taking was inversely related to knowledge of self-protective display rules. The results also demonstrated that the rate at which mothers' explained emotions to their children as preschoolers was positively associated with expression regulation knowledge and knowledge of prosocial display rules.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela W. Garner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Houston-Clear LakeHouston

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