This study examined the extent to which ambiguous facial emotion identification abilities and emotional negativity of children with mild developmental cognitive disabilities (DCD) correlated with their social skills and problem behaviors as rated by their teachers and parents. The study also investigated other contributing factors to the children's emotion identification skills including IQ, age, gender, and the level of inclusion. Participants were 22 children identified with mild DCD between the ages of eight to eleven years old, 22 teachers, and 17 parents. Participants' facial emotion identification abilities were measured by the computer version of the Penn Emotion Recognition Test (ER-40). Participants' emotional negativity was measured by (1) neutral emotions identification in the ER-40 and by (2) negative intent attributions in the Intent Attribution and Feelings of Distress Test (ATT). Participants' social skills and problem behaviors were measured by parents' and teachers' ratings of the Social Skills Ratings System (SSRS) checklist. The results indicated that participants' ambiguous emotion identification abilities were not associated with their social skills and problem behaviors. However, a significant association was observed between participants' emotional negativity measured by the ER-40 neutral expressions and their social skills rated by their teachers. Among various contributing factors to participants' emotion identification abilities, type and intensity of emotions and IQ scores were significantly correlated with their emotion identification abilities. This study had a small sample size, so generalization of the findings is limited. Further study needs to be directed at replication of this study using a larger sample of children with mild DCD.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2011. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Dr. Susan C. Hupp. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 79 pages.
Interpretation of ambiguous emotional cues of children with developmental cognitive disabilities and its relation to their social skills..
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