Interpersonal predictors of emotion understanding in young school-aged children: a prospective study
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- Institutt for psykologi 
Emotion understanding has been associated with a range of developmental outcomes in children, such as social adjustment and mental health. Research on child emotional development has uncovered that even though child emotion understanding improves considerably during the early childhood, there are large individual differences in the rate of this development. There are still considerable gaps in our knowledge about determinants of such individual differences, particularly among school-aged children. By prospectively examining a large community-based sample of 6-year-olds (N = 797) with follow-up at age 8, the current study tries to fill these shortcomings by investigating a range of interpersonal variables predicting development of emotion understanding. Five measures of interpersonal variables were obtained at 6 years of age. These were attachment representations, family climate, parental emotional availability, teacher-child relationship and child social skills. Verbal skills and demographic variables (gender and socioeconomic status) were included as covariates. After adjusting for all other variables, child social skills were the only interpersonal predictor influencing the development of emotion understanding in 8-year-olds. The teacher-child relationship at 6 years predicted emotion understanding at 8 years, but only for children at the low or medium range of social skills. Verbal skills were the only covariate predicting emotion understanding at age 8. The results are discussed in light of relevant empirical literature on the development of emotion understanding.