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Child Dev. 1989 Oct;60(5):1250-60.

Daily emotional states as reported by children and adolescents.

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Division of Human Development and Family Ecology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 61801.


Hour-to-hour emotional states reported by children, ages 9-15, were examined in order to evaluate the hypothesis that the onset of adolescence is associated with increased emotional variability. These youths carried electronic pagers for 1 week and filled out reports on their emotional states in response to signals received at random times. To evaluate possible age-related response sets, a subset of children was asked to use the same scales to rate the emotions shown in drawings of 6 faces. The expected relation between daily emotional variability and age was not found among the boys and was small among the girls. There was, however, a linear relation between age and average mood states, with the older participants reporting more dysphoric average states, especially more mildly negative states. An absence of age difference in the ratings of the faces indicated that this relation could not be attributed to age differences in response set. Thus, these findings provide little support for the hypothesis that the onset of adolescence is associated with increased emotionality but indicate significant alterations in everyday experience associated with this age period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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