British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 30 Issue 3 (September 2012), Pages 359-476

Children's emotion regulation across and within nations: A comparison of Ghanaian, Kenyan, and American youth (pages 415-431)

This research examined national, regional, developmental, and gender differences in children's reported management of anger and sadness. Participants (8–15 years) were 103 Ghanaian children from a village setting, 142 Ghanaian children from a middle‐class urban context, 106 Kenyan children from an impoverished urban context, and 170 children from the United States in lower to middle‐class urban areas (58.8% Caucasian). Children completed the Children's Anger and Sadness Management Scales (Zeman, Shipman, & Penza‐Clyve, 2001) to assess emotion management (i.e., effortful control, over control, under control). Comparisons across nations indicated that Ghanaian youth reported more overt anger expression than youth from Kenya and the United States and less anger inhibition than Kenyan youth. U.S. children reported less overt expression and more constraint over sadness than Kenyan and Ghanaian children, although Kenyans reported being calmer when experiencing sadness than Ghanaian and American youth. Comparing Ghanaian regional contexts, village children reported more anger control than urban children. Regardless of nationality, boys reported more control over sadness than girls who reported more under control of sadness and more over control of anger than boys. Future research is needed to build on these descriptive, preliminary findings examining under‐studied cross‐national contexts.

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