Thomaes, S. et al. (2015). Emotional contrast or compensation? How support reminders influence the pain of acute peer disapproval in preadolescents. Developmental Psychology, 51(10), 1438-1449.
The study aimed at identifying how manipulated reminders of support affect children’s emotional recovery and reactivity in light of peer disapproval. The research question for the study was “How do such reminders of support impact children’s emotional responses to acute experiences of peer disapproval?” The authors expected to find out that support reminders would have a compensatory effect that would help reduce the emotional impact of disapproval. The study addressed this question by involving children between the age of 9 and 13. They were subjected to two between-subjects experiments. The first experiment involved 202 children. Here, the support reminder manipulation was timed before the disapproval. This would help identify its effect on disapproval-based emotional reactivity. The second experiment, on the other hand, involved 167 children. The support reminder manipulation was timed after the peer disapproval. This would help examine its effect on the recovery aspect. The participants completed similar measures in both experiments. They completed the measure of perceived lack of closeness to friends and perceived peer victimization. Both experiments had similar findings. They supported the perspective that support reminders have the ability to exert emotional contrast effect. This is in contrast to the hypothesis, which was supporting the intuitive finding that support reminders tend to exert compensatory effects. These findings relate to the topic of peers found in the course book. It demonstrates various effects that peers would have on others. Efforts by other parties to solve the differences might not always yield the expected positive results. Among the strengths of this study is the method used. The study used children between the ages of 9 to 13. It is likely to get accurate results from such a group since the late childhood is the time when peer difficulties tend to be common and aversive. A weakness also lies on the methods section. 93% of the participants were of Dutch origin. Maybe if other races were well represented, the results might have been different. This is something that future researchers in this topic should consider in their studies.
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