Managing emotion in a maltreating context: a pilot study examining child neglect.Child Abuse Negl. 2005 Sep; 29(9):1015-29.CA
The primary goal of this pilot study was to examine emotion management skills (i.e., emotional understanding, emotion regulation) in children who had experienced neglect and a control group to determine the ways that neglect may interfere with children's emotional development.
Participants included children 6--12 years of age and their mothers (neglect group, N=24; control, N=24). Participants completed questionnaires and an interview that assessed children's emotional understanding and emotion regulation.
Findings indicated that neglected children, compared to their non-maltreated peers, demonstrated lower understanding of negative emotions (i.e., anger, sadness) and fewer adaptive emotion regulation skills. Further, neglected children expected less support and more conflict from mothers in response to displays of negative emotion and reported that they were more likely to attempt to inhibit the expression of negative emotion.
Findings suggest that neglect may interfere with the normal acquisition of emotional understanding and emotion regulation skills, highlighting the importance of addressing these skills in the context of clinical intervention with neglected children.