Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Faculty

Education and Arts

First Advisor

Professor Russell Waugh

Second Advisor

Professor Brenda Cherednichenko

Abstract

This study investigated various aspects of the Social Information Processing Model, in particular, young children’s emotional behavior regulation and negative emotionality, in Hong Kong. The sample was N=628 from 12 schools. Using Rasch measurement, linear unidimensional scales were constructed for Emotion and Behaviour Regulation (10 items) and for Negative Emotionality (10 items). The well-known Short Temperament Scale was Rasch analyzed too, but a linear scale could not be created – it had initially been designed under the True Score Test theory paradigm. The children were divided into Type A (high on negative emotionality and low on emotion and behavior regulation, N=27 and Type B (low on negative emotionality and high on emotion and behavior regulation, N=31). The children’s teachers were given conflict situations and asked to state what strategies the Type A and Type B children would adopt in each conflict situation. The first conflict situation was about the child who was being accidentally pushed by a peer. The second conflict situation was about the child who is being excluded from a game that has enough participants. The third conflict situation was about the child being called “a baby” because he/she was playing with baby toys. The fourth conflict situation was about a peer criticizing and putting marks on a child’s picture. The fifth situation was about a peer pushing ahead and taking a toy that a child has been waiting for a long time. The Type A and Type B children were also asked to state what strategies they would adopt in each conflict situation. When the teachers’ views were compared to the children’s views, it was clear that the teachers did not know their children’s thought processes very well. For both Type A and Type B children, Rasch analysis was used to create a calm/angry scale and a sad/happy scale. Conflict situation two (being excluded from a game) is very hard on the calm/angry scale and both Type A and Type B children need to have a very high angry measure to answer this item positively. Conflict situation two is moderately easy on the sad/happy scale and both Type A and Type B children need only a low sad measure to answer conflict situation two positively. In contrast, conflict situation three (being called a “baby”) is very hard on the sad/happy scale and both Type A and Type B children need to have a very high happy measure to answer this item positively. Conflict situation three is moderately easy on the calm/angry scale and both Type A and Type B children need only a low calm measure to answer conflict situation three positively. The present study gave strong support for the Social Information Processing Model and for the inclusion of emotion and behavior regulation and negative emotionality in the revised model. The study rejected the Short Temperament Scale as it did not produce a linear, unidimensional scale, and it showed that teachers do not know their children, in terms of strategies selection in common social conflict situations, as well as they think that they do. Children are much more conscious of the variety of strategies that can be used in common conflict situations than teachers would normally give them credit. Results indicate that levels of anger aroused in Type A children are associated with differences in the quality of strategies that they are able to generate for solving social problems. Type A and Type B children differ significantly in their choice of best strategy under different emotional conditions for the different conflict situations.

Comments

Chapters 3 to 7, 14 and Appendix C have been removed.

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