Title page for ETD etd-04122010-114839

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Snyder, Courtney Marie
Author's Email Address csnyde1@tigers.lsu.edu
URN etd-04122010-114839
Title The Effect of Task Difficulty on Preschoolers' Problem-Solving and Emotion-Regulation Strategy Use
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Grobman, Kevin Committee Chair
Elliot, Emily Committee Member
Pierce, Sarah Committee Member
  • emotion-regulation
  • help-seeking
  • problem-solving
Date of Defense 2009-12-10
Availability unrestricted
Although there has been a lot of research on problem-solving and emotion-regulation independently, little work has been done on how these constructs are related. The current investigation sought to explore differences in problem-solving, emotion-regulation, emotion-dysregulation and help-seeking based on task difficulty. Preschool children between 3-5 years of age participated in six frustration-inducing problem-solving tasks, three of which were possible (but difficult) and three of which were impossible for them to solve. Problem-solving, emotion-regulation, emotion-dysregulation, and help-seeking behaviors were coded for each task. I hypothesized that children’s behavior in each of these four areas would vary according to task difficulty, as well as within each task as they struggled more. I also aimed to investigate each of the constructs to see if they are domain-specific (i.e., traits of the children) or domain-general (i.e., products of the situation). Results revealed that children’s help-seeking and emotion-dysregulation differed according to task difficulty. Problem-solving and emotion-dysregulation demonstrated some domain-specificity. Finally, younger and older preschoolers differed in their help-seeking.
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