The anger–distress model of temper tantrums: associations with emotional reactivity and emotional competence
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AbstractThe goals of this investigation were (a) to assess the structural validity of the anger-distress model of temper tantrums, and (b) to examine the associations among temper tantrums, emotional reactivity and emotional competence in a community sample of preschoolers. A parent-report measure, the Temper Tantrum Grid, was used to measure the frequency of common tantrum behaviours. Laboratory and parent report measures of emotional reactivity and emotional competence were administered. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the proposal that anger and distress are separate but overlapping tantrum processes. Correlation analyses showed that temper tantrum anger and distress were related to emotional reactivity and emotional competence. There was no evidence to support the notion that emotional competence moderated the effect of emotional reactivity on temper tantrums. In contrast, emotional competence was a significant mediator of the association between emotional reactivity and temper tantrums. Overall, the results support the anger-distress model of temper tantrums. The findings suggest that children’s temper tantrums are systematically related to the overall organization of emotion and behaviour in preschool children.
SponsorshipThis research was supported by a grant from the Human Early Learning Partnership to the third author
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