Social reasoning, negative emotionality, and emotion understanding in rejected aggressive children
Rodriguez, Amalyssa J.
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The current study investigated the relationship between social reasoning ability, negative emotionality, and emotion understanding in different subtypes of rejected aggressive children. Eighty-five 4th, 5th, and 6th grade boys and girls identified through peer nomination as rejected overtly aggressive, rejected relationally aggressive, rejected relationally and overtly aggressive, or popular were included in the study. The Interpersonal Negotiation Strategies (INS) interview was used to measure levels of social reasoning. A doubly-multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted in which peer status was the independent variable, and the four problem-solving steps of the INS interview for two hypothetical dilemmas were the dependent variables. For the first step of the instrumental dilemma, the popular group reasoned at a higher level than only the rejected overtly aggressive group. For steps two, three, and four of the instrumental dilemma, though, the popular group reasoned at significantly higher levels than all the rejected aggressive groups. For the relational dilemma, no differences were found between the four groups on the first step; however, the popular group reasoned at significantly higher levels on steps two, three, and four than the rejected aggressive groups. Negative emotionality was measured using the Dimensions of Temperament Scale-Revised, and the Assessment of Children’s Emotion Skills was used to measure emotion knowledge. A series of one-way MANOVAs was conducted to investigate differences in negative emotionality and emotion knowledge. For negative emotionality, significant differences in mood and sleep activity were found between the popular group and the rejected aggressive group that displayed both types of aggression. No significant differences were found between groups for emotion knowledge. While the current study found differences between groups mainly in the domain of social reasoning, further research is still merited for negative emotionality and emotion knowledge, especially for children who have been identified as both rejected and aggressive. This research has implications for the development of appropriate prevention and intervention techniques for children engaging in relational and overt aggressive behavior.