This study examined the influence of expressive strategies (i.e., verbal, facial, crying, sulking, and aggressive), emotion type (i.e., anger, sadness), social context (i.e., mother, father, best friend), age (i.e., 7, 10 years), and gender on 144 children’s expectancies regarding interpersonal responses to their emotional expression. Participants included 72 boys and 72 girls, with an average age of 8 years and 10 months. Results indicate that children expect others to respond more positively to certain expressive strategies (e.g., verbal, facial) as compared to others (e.g., aggression) and that these expectancies vary as a function of the type of emotion experienced, the social context, age, and gender. Consistent with the functionalist approach to emotion, findings suggest that, through social interaction, children learn culturally appropriate strategies for emotional expression that facilitate their ability to elicit a desired response from social partners.
Shipman, Kimberly L.; Zeman, Janis; Nesin, April E.; and Fitzgerald, Monica
"Children’s Strategies for Displaying Anger
and Sadness: What Works With Whom?,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 49:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol49/iss1/6