Interactive Contributions of Attribution Biases and Emotional Intensity to Child–Friend Interaction Quality During Preadolescence

Xi Chen, Nancy L. McElwain, Jennifer E. Lansford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using data from a subsample of 913 study children and their friends who participated in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, the interactive contributions of child-reported attribution biases and teacher-reported child emotional intensity (EI) at Grade 4 (M = 9.9 years) to observed child–friend interaction at Grade 6 (M = 11.9 years) were examined. Study children's hostile attribution bias, combined with high EI, predicted more negative child–friend interaction. In contrast, benign attribution bias, combined with high EI, predicted more positive child–friend interaction. The findings are discussed in light of the “fuel” interpretation of EI, in which high-intensity emotions may motivate children to act on their cognitive biases for better or for worse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e114-e131
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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