Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 339–352 | Cite as

Emotional Expressiveness during Peer Conflicts: A Predictor of Social Maladjustment among High-Risk Preschoolers

  • Alison L. Miller
  • Sheryl L. Olson


Preschool boys' emotional displays during conflicts with mixed-sex peers were related to individual differences in peer sociometric status and teacher ratings of disruptive behavior. Participants were 60 4- to 5-year old boys from low-income families who were videotaped with a small group of classmates in a Head Start preschool classroom. Conflicts were identified and emotional displays were coded from videotape. Results indicated that conflicts were more negative in emotional tone at the end than at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, children tended to mirror each others' emotional displays at the end but not the beginning of the preschool year. In addition, gleeful taunting, a form of emotional aggression, more strongly predicted negative peer nominations and teacher ratings than anger, suggesting that anger may be a more socially accepted form of emotional expression during conflicts among preschool-age children. Implications and directions for future research and interventions are discussed.

Peer rejection emotion regulation preschool high risk externalizing problems 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison L. Miller
    • 1
  • Sheryl L. Olson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor

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