Cognitive Reappraisal in Middle Childhood
Garcia Meza, Tatiana
MetadataShow full item record
Cognitive reappraisal (CR) involves changing one’s mental states in response to an emotionally eliciting event in order to down regulate the potential emotional impact. In this study, 50 children who were 9-10 years old were instructed to engage in CR during a sad film. Children were then exposed to a disappointing situation and asked to self-report on their CR after the disappointment task. As hypothesized, there was variability in level of CR use during the disappointment task. Contrary to hypothesis, children’s CR was not related to parent CR. Nor was the association between parent CR and child CR moderated by child baseline frontal EEG asymmetry, as hypothesized. Post-hoc analyses revealed that parent CR moderated the association between child baseline frontal EEG asymmetry and task-related frontal EEG asymmetry, such that children presenting with left frontal asymmetry at baseline and who had parents with higher CR showed left frontal asymmetry during the disappointment task. This was conceptualized as physiological regulation during an emotion event. Post-hoc analyses also revealed that children’s CR after the disappointment task was predicted by task-related frontal EEG asymmetry, as well as self-reports of ER strategies. I conclude that task-specific CR can be assessed in preadolescents but that much research is needed to determine the correlates of child use of CR during emotional situations.
General Audience Abstract
Changing the way one thinks of an emotional event is considered highly adaptive, this strategy is referred to as cognitive reappraisal (CR). 50 children between the ages of 9 and 10 and their parents participated in this study. Children were asked to engage in CR while watching a sad film. Then, they were exposed to a disappointing event. After the disappointment, children were asked to complete a self-report questionnaire which gathered information on their CR during the disappointment task. Parents also completed an adult version of this questionnaire. Children’s responses were varied, but their CR was not related to their parent’s CR. Children’s brain activity was also not related to either parent’s nor children’s CR. Parent’s own CR was linked to children’s brain activity during rest and during the disappointment task, making brain activity more extreme for children with greater activation in the frontal left hemisphere of the brain during rest, the area involved with greater regulation. Additionally, children’s CR was predicted by their self-reported emotion regulation and their brain activity during the disappointment task. Our results indicate that wen parents are capable of changing the way they think about an emotional event, using CR, their children are benefitting in ways that are not easily observable, such as through brain activity.
- Masters Theses