The proposed project aims to increase children's understanding, regulation, and utilization of emotions. It will focus on developing and evaluating a theoretically coherent emotion-based prevention program (EBP) for children of economically disadvantaged families. It consists of two major teacher-implemented components: (1) an Emotions Course (EC) with brief lessons and activities taught on a specified schedule to the class as a whole and (2) Emotion Tutoring and Coaching (ETC) consisting of one-on-one emotion dialogues and techniques for helping a child manage on-line emotions any time she or he shows signs of under-regulated emotion or needs help in activating or sustaining positive emotions. EBP also has complementary parent component designed to extend the effects of EBP into the home. We followed differential emotions theory in translating findings from numerous laboratories on the development of emotion knowledge, emotion perception bias, and emotion regulation into a thoroughly emotion-centered prevention program. A substantial part of the empirical basis for EBP came from our own longitudinal studies of emotional development and social behavior in Head Start children. Emotion theory, emotion research, and community (Head Start staff, teacher, parent, child) feedback from preliminary implementations of EC guided development of techniques for increasing socioemotional competence and utilizing emotion motivation constructively. Such techniques and our emphasis on emotion modulation and emotion utilization represent distinctive features of EBP. Effective modulation and utilization of the emotions not only reduce disruptive and aggressive behavior, they set the stage for positive social interactions and help create a classroom climate that facilitates learning and creative endeavors. Another goal of the proposed project concerns the upgrading of Head Start teachers' knowledge of the expressions, functions, regulation, and utilization of emotions and their skills in helping children modulate and utilize on-line emotions. To evaluate the effectiveness of EBP, we will use multiple informants (teachers, parents, children, independent observers). We will assess child temperament/emotionality and verbal ability as control measures and use multiple techniques to assess emotion knowledge, emotion regulation, and adaptive and maladaptive behavior.
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