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Low self-esteem and impairments in emotion recognition predict behavioural problems in children

Wells, Amy E., Hunnikin, Laura M., Ash, Daniel P. and van Goozen, Stephanie 2020. Low self-esteem and impairments in emotion recognition predict behavioural problems in children. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 42 , pp. 693-701. 10.1007/s10862-020-09814-7

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Research indicates that low self-esteem and impaired emotion recognition are risk factors for antisocial behaviour (ASB). Self-esteem and emotion recognition are essential for successful social interaction and previous research suggests that self-esteem and emotional intelligence are positively related. However, to our knowledge the relationship between these two risk factors for ASB has not been explored in children with behavioural problems. Thus, this study investigated self-esteem and emotion recognition, their relationship with one another and with behavioural problem severity. Participants were 8-11 year olds with behavioural problems (BP; n = 78) who were taking part in an early intervention program, and typically developing controls (TD; n = 54). Participants completed a self-esteem questionnaire and a computerised emotion recognition task. Teachers and parents rated children’s emotional and behavioural problems. BP participants had significantly lower self esteem and exhibited an impairment in emotion recognition. Self-esteem and emotion recognition were positively related and inversely associated with behavioural problem severity and they predicted behaviour problems independently of one another. This is the first study to show that self-esteem and emotion recognition are related processes in children with behavioural problems and that both predict behavioural problems. This has important implications for the development of intervention strategies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This article was (co-)authored by Cardiff NDAU researchers
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0882-2689
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 13 May 2020
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2021 02:25

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