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Children with behavioural problems misinterpret the emotions and intentions of others

Wells, Amy E, Hunnikin, Laura M, Ash, Daniel P and van Goozen, Steph 2020. Children with behavioural problems misinterpret the emotions and intentions of others. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 48 (2) , pp. 213-221. 10.1007/s10802-019-00594-7

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Research indicates that the misinterpretation of other’s emotions or intentions may lead to antisocial behaviour. This study investigated emotion and intention recognition in children with behavioural problems and examined their relationship and relations with behaviour problem severity. Participants were 7–11 year old children with behavioural problems (n = 93, mean age: 8.78, 82.8% male) who were taking part in an early intervention program and typically developing controls (n = 44, mean age: 9.82, 79.5% male). Participants completed emotion recognition and Theory of Mind tasks. Teachers and parents rated children’s emotional and behavioural problems. Children with behavioural problems showed impaired emotion and intention recognition. Emotion recognition and intention recognition were positively related and inversely associated with behavioural problem severity and, independently of one another, predicted behavioural problems. This study is the first to show that children with behavioural problems are impaired in identifying others’ emotions as well as intentions. These social cognitive processes were found to be related and inversely associated with severity of behavioural problems. This has important implications for intervention and prevention programmes for children with behavioural difficulties.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This article was (co-)authored by Cardiff NDAU researchers
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0091-0627
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 27 September 2019
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2021 02:24

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