Children's Emotion Regulation Inventory (ChERI) : measure development, item domains and summary profiles : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Skilful emotion regulation in childhood plays a vital role in a raft of developmental accomplishments, including social competence, academic success and mental well-being. However, researchers and clinicians currently have no unified framework for examining children’s emotion regulation and few straightforward yet detailed assessment measures. Here, a series of studies was undertaken which identified a collection of observable children’s emotion regulation strategies, then organised and grouped the strategies into cohesive domains and profiles. First, a goal-directed model of emotion regulation was outlined. Next, current research measures, clinical measures and focus group data were used to construct a 103-item inventory of behavioural emotion regulation strategies. Multidimensional scaling was then used to calculate and display inter-item relationships after they had been objectively sorted by lay-people and experts. This step also enabled item refinement and inventory reduction. One hundred and fifty one parents of 6-12 year old children then ranked the resulting 85-item Children’s Emotion Regulation Inventory (ChERI) in relation to their child using a three-phase Q-sort procedure. Multidimensional scaling, factor analysis and cluster analyses were applied to the responses. Nine fundamental domains of children’s emotion regulation were found, interpreted as Outward Engagement, Inward or Somatic Focus, Disengagement, Disruptive, Impulsive/Labile, Social Connectedness/Compliance, Generating Closeness/Intimacy, Establishing Order and Generating Disorder. Individual scores across these nine domains were clustered to generate five summary Profiles of children’s emotion regulation. Results are compared and contrasted with current literature and discussed in terms of potential usefulness of the ChERI for research or clinical applications.