Children's emotion regulation: Self-report and physiological response to peer provocation.

Developmental psychology

PubMedID: 17201506

Fainsilber Katz L, Hessler DM. Children's emotion regulation: Self-report and physiological response to peer provocation. Dev Psychol. 2007;43(1):27-38.
The authors examined the notion that children's emotion regulation (ER) is a uniform skill by (a) investigating the concordance between self-report of ER and physiological measures and by (b) examining ER in a specific context (e.g., peer provocation) and context-free manner (e.g., during a semistructured interview of ER abilities). Seventy-two children in middle childhood (average age = 9 years) participated. Time-locked measures of heart rate reactivity and recovery were obtained in response to provoking comments, and vagal regulation was measured throughout the provocation session. Children who reported greater dysregulation showed increased heart rate reactivity to provocative comments (i.e., steeper heart rate slope) but no difference in heart rate recovery. The context-free but not the context-specific self-report measure was associated with a failure to suppress vagal tone. Implications for ER measurement and children's peer relations are discussed.