Teacher-child emotion talk in preschool children displaying elevated externalizing behaviors
This study examined teacher-child emotion talk in a sample of preschool children rated by their teachers as displaying elevated externalizing behaviors (N = 470). Emotion talk was observed using a teacher-child dyadic storybook reading task. We examined the link between emotion talk and children's gains in their observed positive engagement with teachers across the preschool year. To isolate the unique contribution of emotion talk, we accounted for the affective quality of teacher-child interactions and relationships and children's receptive language skills. We also explored whether the link between emotion talk and children's positive engagement with their teacher was moderated by teacher-child affective qualities. The results provide evidence that if teachers offer frequent opportunities to talk about emotions in the context of warm and sensitive dyadic interactions, children connect and communicate more with their teachers regardless of their initial engagement level. Implications for early childhood teachers practice are discussed. (author abstract)
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