Emotion Understanding and Regulation: Implications for Positive School Adjustment

  • Sarah R. Bardack
  • Sherri C. Widen


Traditionally, research on school readiness and of academic success has focused on children’s performance in reading, math, and other subjects. However, there is ample evidence that children’s social and emotional skills are important to children’s positive school adjustment and support their acquisition of academic skills as well. In this chapter, we explore the significant role of two emotion processes—emotion understanding and emotion regulation—in shaping children’s academic and social success in school. First, we provide definitions and conceptual backgrounds for the terms emotion understanding and emotion regulation. Second, we summarize the empirical literature examining these emotion processes in relation to children’s academic and social adjustment in school, parents’ role in children’s acquisition of these skills, and interventions that increase children’s social-emotional skills. We end by identifying new directions for future research to address gaps in current literature to advance our understanding of how these important processes contribute to children’s positive school adjustment.


Emotion understanding Emotion regulation School-readiness Positive school adjustment Parenting Emotion concepts Differentiation Components of emotions Interventions 



This research was supported by funding from the Silver Giving, Spencer Foundation, Arnold Foundation, and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. The authors would like to thank Christina Huber and Madeline Bradshaw for helping with the literature review and Erika Byun and Rocio Hernandez for their careful review and input on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah R. Bardack
    • 1
  • Sherri C. Widen
    • 2
  1. 1.Imagine WorldwideSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Committee for ChildrenSeattleUSA

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