Emotional development in adolescence: What can be learned from a high school theater program?

Reed W. Larson, Jane R. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grounded-theory analyses were used to formulate propositions regarding the processes of adolescent emotional development. Progress in understanding this difficult topic requires close examination of emotional experience in context, and to do this the authors drew on qualitative data collected over the course of a high school theater production. Participants' (ages 14-17) accounts of experiences in this setting demonstrated their capacity to actively extract emotional knowledge and to develop strategies for managing emotions. These accounts suggested that youth's repeated "hot" experience of unfolding emotional episodes in the setting provided material for this active process of learning. Youth also learned by drawing on and internalizing the emotion culture of the setting, which provided concepts, strategies, and tools for managing emotional episodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1099
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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