Expressive enhancement, suppression, and flexibility in childhood and adolescence: Longitudinal links with peer relations.
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AbstractThe ability to flexibly enhance or suppress emotional expressions in accordance with contextual demands is regarded as a marker of better adjustment among adults. Within a longitudinal framework, the present study explored levels of expressive flexibility in late childhood and early adolescence, as well as their potential bidirectional links with friendship quality and peer status. Participants (N=368) were recruited from two primary schools and two junior high schools in China. They were tested across two waves with a six-month interval. Expressive enhancement, suppression, and flexibility were measured by a laboratory task; Friendship quality and peer status were measured by self-reports and peer nomination, respectively. Results indicated that: 1) Children’s expressive enhancement, suppression, and flexibility significantly increased from Wave 1 to Wave 2, but there were no significant differences between primary and junior high school students; 2) Females shows a trend toward higher suppression ability, compared to males, but there were no gender differences in expressive enhancement or flexibility; 3) Greater friendship quality at Wave 1 predicted greater expressive enhancement, suppression, and flexibility at Wave 2, but none of these components predicted later friendship quality; 4) Wave 1 peer status positively predicted later suppression and expressive flexibility scores, while Wave 1 suppression significantly predicted higher Wave 2 peer status. The consistent associations from earlier social adjustment to later expressive flexibility components suggest that children’s positive peer relations might be beneficial for their abilities to regulate emotional expressions.
Acceptance Date03/04/2019
All Author(s) ListYingqian WANG, Skyler T. Hawk
Journal nameEmotion
LanguagesEnglish-United States
Keywordsexpressive flexibility, emotion regulation, friendship quality, peer status, Chinese children and adolescents

Last updated on 2021-20-01 at 02:25