Is self-worth related to affective social competence with positive emotions in children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

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Virginia Tech

Self-worth is a global self-evaluation of one's value as a person (Harter & Whitsell, 2003). Self-worth in children may be influenced by affective social competence (ASC), which involves abilities to effectively express, identify, and manage emotions when interacting with others (Halberstadt, Denham, & Dunsmore, 2001). Children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) are likely to have poorer social competence (Burns et al., 2009). ODD is a commonly diagnosed, disruptive behavior disorder in children that involves symptoms of excessive argumentativeness, defiance, and anger (Loney & Lima, 2003; Pfiffner, McBurnett, Rathouz, & Judice, 2005). Children with ODD often report a lower sense of self-worth than non-diagnosed peers. Because experiencing positive emotions may be linked with emotional buffering from stressors and may bolster positive characteristics in individuals (Fredrickson, 2003), I studied components of ASC in regard to positive emotions in children with ODD. With 86 parent-child dyads, children's ability to recognize, encourage, and express emotions was studied alongside parents' reports of children's emotion regulation in relation to children's reports of perceived self-worth. Components of ASC were expected to be positively associated with children's perceptions of self-worth. However, results did not support these expectations. Discussion focuses on methods and future research.

positive emotions, self-worth, competence, oppositional defiant disorder