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Popular and Rejected Children's Reasoning Regarding Negative Emotions in Social Situations: The Role of Gender

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posted on 2023-06-07, 18:45 authored by Robin Banerjee, Carolien Rieffe, Mark Meerum Terwogt, Ana Maria Gerlein, Maria Voutsina
Two studies compared popular and rejected children's reasoning regarding social interactions involving negative emotions. The first study, with 23 rejected and 23 popular 10- to 11-year-olds, involved hypothetical social scenarios where a classmate 'victim' was likely to experience a negative emotion. Although popular and rejected children both recognized negative emotions and were equally likely to suggest helping behaviour to aid the victim, there were gender effects on the type of helping behaviour suggested. Specifically, popular girls were significantly more likely to offer comforting behaviour than advice whereas popular boys offered advice more than comfort; no such preferences were exhibited by the rejected children. Furthermore, popular girls were significantly more likely than other children to refer to emotional states when justifying their helping response. In the second study, 30 popular and 30 rejected eight- to 10-year-olds identified the motives behind story characters' efforts to mask negative emotions. Popular girls were more likely to identify the target motives than rejected girls, but no such difference was apparent for the boys. The results are discussed in the light of evidence regarding gender differences in peer interaction patterns.


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Social Development







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