What Ensues from Emotional Distress? Implications for Competence Estimation

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Although much is known about what precedes emotional distress, less is known about what follows such distress. The goal of this research was to examine the process by which emotional distress contributes to competence estimation. Children 9 to 13 years of age in fourth through sixth grade (N = 932) participated in a 3- wave longitudinal study spanning 12 months. Their emotional distress, views of themselves and their world, and competence estimation were assessed. Emotional distress predicted negative beliefs about the self and the world over time; these beliefs in turn predicted decrements in competence estimation over time. Negative views of the self and the world mediated the path from emotional distress to competence underestimation. The findings suggest that the experience of emotional distress has negative implications for children's development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-345
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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