Published on 27/12/12 at 04:15:18 GMT by Redaksjonen
Toddlers with good language skills are better able to manage anger later in life, a new study suggests.
- This is the first longitudinal evidence of early language abilities predicting later aspects of anger regulation, says Pamela M. Cole, research professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University.
Results from a new study at Pennsylvania State University show that children with good language skills at age 2 expressed less anger during frustrating situations at age 4 than did those 4-year-olds with less advanced language skills.
The research was originally based on postulations that early language skills may help children regulate their emotions, but the pathways by which this occurs have not been studied empirically before this study took place.
The researchers conducted a longitudinal study of 120 children from 18 to 48 months of age, associations among child language skill, observed anger expression, and regulatory strategies during a delay task were examined. Toddlers with better language skill, and whose language skill increased more over time, appeared less angry at 48 months and their anger declined more over time.
Children periodically underwent tests that assessed their language skills and their ability to cope with frustrating tasks. One task asked children to wait for eight minutes before opening a present while their mother finished work.
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Two aspects of language appeared to help children rein in their anger. - First, children with more developed language skills asked for support from their parents during a frustrating situation (for instance, asking the mother whether she was finished with her work). - Children also used language to occupy or distract themselves from becoming angry (One child dealt with the waiting task by counting for a full minute).
- Better language skills may help children verbalize rather than use emotions to convey needs and use their imaginations to occupy themselves while enduring a frustrating wait, said Cole.
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