Student number: 21353279 Attachment and EmotionalUnderstanding in Preschool Children The researchconducted by Deborah Liable and Ross Thompson (1998), focused on the importancefor attachment and emotional understand has on preschool aged children. It isimportant for them to be able to recognise their emotions as well as the othersaround them; such as their family members and peers. Preschool children reply onthe understanding of their emotions to be able to secure a positive attachmentrelationship. It is cruel in fuelling a child’s understanding of emotions,especially negative emotions.
Attachment theorist have expressed the importanceof ‘parent-child attachment’. This is a key factor in the way in which a childlearns about themselves and others. A child may use the parent-child attachmentto then create a ‘Internal working models; when a child is influenced by howthey observe their parents treating them and other people. Creating a basicprinciple for child to reflect on when wanting to know how they should treatnot only their peers but themselves.
Their study focusedon trying to clarify the relationship between a child’s emotional attachmentand understanding. The researchers used forty children (21 boys and 20 girls) between the ages of 2.5and 6 years and their mothers (aged between 23 and 41 years old) to participatein the study. 95% of the participants were Caucasian.
Liable and Thompson (1998)started by giving the children’s mothers two tasks to complete. The mothers hadto complete a questionnaire where they had to predict how their children wouldreact or feel in certain situations. The mother’s responses were used to designone of the tasks for the children. Additionally, they were given an attachmentQ-set. The children were also given two tasks to complete at their preschoolsspecifically designed to calculate their emotional understanding. For the firsttask, the children were shown three felt puppets make twenty smallillustrations.
Twelve of these illustrations were designed using the questionscompleted by the mothers. After each story, the researcher used four differentpossibilities to ask the boys how the male puppet felt and the girls how thefemale puppet felt. For the second task, they were interviewed about every dayand random situations.
The children’s emotions were recorded in basiccategories; mad, sad, afraid and happy. This is based on work from Fabes et al(1988). These observations took place at the preschool for about four weeks(for about one to three hours a day) until five interviews were taken with eachchild.
This had to include as a minimum one interview about a positive emotionand one negative emotion. From the 264interviews that took place, on average 3.85 of the responses from the childrenwere linked to positive emotions. Compared to 2.
23 of the responses were linkedto negative emotions. Age and gender were important when looking at all thecontributing factors. Age was a very significant contributing factor as theresults suggested that the older children preformed significantly better thanthe younger children.
When looking at the positive emotions, age added asignificant amount of the variance, as the older children performed a littlebetter than the younger children in understanding positive emotions. Gender didnot have any impact on the increase in the variance. In comparison, thenegative emotions, age also added a significant amount of the variance. Asagain the older children performed better than the younger children in theunderstanding of negative emotions. However, the children with a higherattachment security scores outperformed the children with lower security soreson understanding negative emotions. Inconclusion, this study wanted to clarify the relationship between attachmentand emotional understanding in preschool children aged 2.5 and 6 years old. Thestudy highlighted a few issues in the developmental understanding thatpreschool children have when expressing and feeling different emotions.
Securely attached children were muchmore likely to remember the positive events compared to insecure children weremore likely to remember the negative events. The relationship between securityand emotional understanding was not made that clear, is it difficult to measureand many key factors have an impact, so it is slightly unclear to say what iscausing what. However, children who have presented to have a secure attachment,scored higher on the overall emotional understanding tests compared to thosewho were presented to have an insecure attachment. Overall, the older childrenpreformed much higher then the younger children in both tasks and highlightedthe remarkable developments in emotional understanding throughout the preschoolyears. References Laible, D. J.
, & Thompson, R. A.(1998). Attachment and emotional understanding in preschool children.Developmental Psychology, 34, 1038-1045.