Toddlers' emotion regulation behaviors: the roles of social context and family expressiveness.J Genet Psychol. 1995 Dec; 156(4):417-30.JG
Fifty-five toddlers (mean age = 17.7 months) were observed in a modified strange situation that included their preschool-age older siblings (mean age = 50.6 months). The toddlers were observed while interacting with their older siblings and again with the siblings and a stranger. Differences in the toddlers' emotional lability, latency to distress, self-soothing behavior, and comfort-seeking behavior across the two situations were examined. The linkage between the family's reported expression of positive emotion, sadness, and anger and the toddlers' emotion regulation behaviors was evaluated. The results revealed that the toddlers were more emotionally regulated in the presence of the siblings and the stranger than when they were alone with their siblings. In addition, mother-reported positive expressiveness within the family was related to higher levels of self-soothing behavior in the siblings-alone condition, and mother-reported sadness within the family was inversely related to toddlers' self-soothing behavior in both conditions. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of social-context factors and family expressiveness for the development of emotion regulation.