The broad goals of this project are to better understand how people cope with emotions (especially vicariously induced emotions such as sympathy and personal distress), the factors related to constructive coping with emotions, and the relation of how one deals with emotions to social competence, prosocial behavior, and popularity. Specifically, the purposes of the proposed research are several: (a) to examine the roles of self-regulation and coping capabilities in vicarious emotional responding and subsequent behavior; (b) to examine the relations of dispositional emotional reactivity and reactivity in a given context to vicarious emotional responding, (c) to explore the interaction of affective reactivity with self-regulation/coping style in relation to people's vicarious responding and coping with their own and others' emotional states; (d) to assess the relations between children's vicarious emotional responding and parental (particularly mother's) sympathy, personal stress, and behavioral reactions to children's emotional states, and their conversation about others' in emotion-ladden contexts. In this research, we will take a multimethod approach, using self-report and behavioral measures, facial and physiological markers of emotion, and naturalistic as well as laboratory studies. Six initial studies are described: (a) two multimethod laboratory studies in which the role of parental (particularly maternal) vicarious emotional responding, behavior in situations involving others' emotions, and emotion-related language in children's vicarious emotional responding is examined, (b) two studies on young children's coping with their own and others' emotion in the school setting, and the relation of such coping with vicarious responding, social competence, popularity, and social behavior; and (c) laboratory studies involving physiological indexes of vicarious emotional responding in which the roles of self-regulation/coping and reactivity in vicarious emotional responding and consequent prosocial behavior are examined in greater detail.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research (K02)
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Research Scientist Development Review Committee (MHK)
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Arizona State University-Tempe Campus
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Eisenberg, Nancy; Guthrie, Ivanna K; Cumberland, Amanda et al. (2002) Prosocial development in early adulthood: a longitudinal study. J Pers Soc Psychol 82:993-1006
Eisenberg, N; Guthrie, I K; Fabes, R A et al. (2000) Prediction of elementary school children's externalizing problem behaviors from attentional and behavioral regulation and negative emotionality. Child Dev 71:1367-82
Eisenberg, N; Fabes, R A; Shepard, S A et al. (1999) Parental reactions to children's negative emotions: longitudinal relations to quality of children's social functioning. Child Dev 70:513-34
Eisenberg, N; Guthrie, I K; Murphy, B C et al. (1999) Consistency and development of prosocial dispositions: a longitudinal study. Child Dev 70:1360-72
Eisenberg, N; Shepard, S A; Fabes, R A et al. (1998) Shyness and children's emotionality, regulation, and coping: contemporaneous, longitudinal, and across-context relations. Child Dev 69:767-90
Eisenberg, N; Fabes, R A; Shepard, S A et al. (1998) Contemporaneous and longitudinal prediction of children's sympathy from dispositional regulation and emotionality. Dev Psychol 34:910-24
Eisenberg, N; Fabes, R A; Shepard, S A et al. (1997) Contemporaneous and longitudinal prediction of children's social functioning from regulation and emotionality. Child Dev 68:642-64
Fabes, R A; Eisenberg, N (1997) Regulatory control and adults' stress-related responses to daily life events. J Pers Soc Psychol 73:1107-17
Shell, R M; Eisenberg, N (1996) Children's reactions to the receipt of direct and indirect help. Child Dev 67:1391-405
Eisenberg, N; Okun, M A (1996) The relations of dispositional regulation and emotionally to elder's empathy-related responding and affect while volunteering. J Pers 64:157-83

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