Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name



Psychological and Brain Sciences

Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

Rosen; Louisville; Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; children; emotion; regulation


Emotion dysregulation in children may contribute to poor interpersonal relationships and a variety of internalizing and externalizing psychopathological outcomes in children both with and without ADHD. This study serves to provide an examination of how emotional self-awareness and situationally appropriate emotional expression may affect an individual's ability to broadly regulate emotion and additionally provides an exploratory investigation of how these attributes may affect specific emotion regulation. The present study found that emotional self-awareness and emotion recognition may both contribute to emotion regulation through shared variance with each other rather than unique variance of either one. Exploratory analyses of regulation of specific emotion suggested that children displaying greater difficulties with emotional self-awareness may experience more difficulty regulating anger above and beyond the influence of ADHD, and children with difficulties with situationally appropriate expression of emotion may have greater difficulty regulating sadness and worry above and beyond the influence of ADHD. By continuing research in this domain, it may be possible to design interventions for children prone to emotion dysregulation which are more individualized to fit the child’s specific symptomatology.

Lay Summary

This research aimed to investigate the role of two constructs in emotion dysregulation in children above and beyond the influence of ADHD. The first construct, Emotional self-awareness, refers to one's ability to recognize emotions within themselves and know what they are feeling. The second construct, emotional situational responsiveness, refers essentially to an individual's willingness and ability to act in alignment with the emotional context of a scene. It was hypothesized that children who were more impaired in emotional self-awareness and situational responsiveness would be experience more impairment in the overall ability to regulate emotion. Exploratory analyses were also to be conducted to look at the role of each construct in dysregulation of specific negative emotions (anger, sadness, and worry). Analyses revealed that when accounting for important variables such as age, ADHD status, and ADHD medication, emotional self-awareness and situational responsiveness were collectively accounting for a significant amount of variance in a child's ability to effective regulate emotion above and beyond the influence of ADHD (better self-awareness and situational responsiveness, better emotion regulation) but the variables were not significant above and beyond each other. Exploratory analyses suggested that children with worse emotional self-awareness may have more difficulty with regulating anger above and beyond the influence of ADHD while children who were worse in situational responsiveness may have had more difficulty effectively regulating worry and sadness above and beyond the influence of ADHD. These findings may be helpful moving forward to design treatment and interventions for both groups related to dysregulation of specific emotions and emotion dysregulation as a whole.