Measuring social and emotion information processing in early childhood : a pilot-test of a revised and expanded storybook interview.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Social information processing (SIP) models of social cognition are increasingly being applied to children and adolescents with most studies focusing on differences between aggressive and nonaggressive children in the coding and interpretation of social cues (Dodge and Newman, 1981; Darin and Sharon, 2012). However, research in this field is characterised by two substantial deficits, including insufficient integration of emotion processing in SIP frameworks and a lack of accessible and reliable measurement tools for social and emotional information processing, particularly for young children. The current study attempted to address this gap in the research by pilot-testing a revised and expanded version of the Social Information Processing Interview for preschool children (SIPI-P; Ziv and Sorongon, 2011). Fifty children (26 male and 24 female), who ranged from 41 to 61 months of age were recruited from eleven early childhood education centres in the Christchurch metropolitan area. Analyses of both qualitative and quantitative data showed a number of gender differences and distinctions in social and emotional information processing across the prosocial, ambiguous, and conflict hypothetical stories. Boys tended to score slightly better than girls across 8 of the SIP and emotion processing variables. However, boys also generated more aggressive responses than the girls. Overall, the inclusion of emotion processing variables and the two prosocial scenarios in a single interview for preschoolers (SIPI-P) is achievable, although additional revision is necessary with the prosocial hypothetical stories. Future research on the SIP model using this tool may provide a more complete picture of the development of social and emotional information processing in young children.