Info

Diener &

Mangelsdorf

Cummings etal. (1985)

Note. Many analytic methods can be used with any of the techniques, depending on the design of the study and the given measure.

Note. Many analytic methods can be used with any of the techniques, depending on the design of the study and the given measure.

Researchers interested in the role of cognition in emotion-related regulation are likely to assess either dispositional or situational cognitive processes (e.g., how individuals appraise specific emotion-eliciting situations and use cognitive distraction or cognitive restructuring to modify its significance (Heckhausen, 1997; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Further, individuals interested in attachment relationships often observe the ways in which young children deal with different stressors or emotions when the parent is nearby (e.g., self-soothing, fussing to parent, seeking comfort from the parent, problem solving; Diener & Mangelsdorf, 1999; Grolnick et al., 1998) or examine the relation of security of attachment to children's abilities to self-regulate (Contreras, Kerns, Weimer, Gentzler, & Tomich, 2000). In addition, many measures of emotion regulation essentially tap the outcome of such regulation, for example, if the child shows neutral or positive emotion rather than distress (Carter, Little, Briggs-Gowan, & Kogan, 1999) or is emotionally labile versus resilient (e.g., Shields & Cicchetti, 1997). Such measures are most common in research on the relation of emotion regulation to adjustment.

A number of researchers have successfully examined emotion-related regulation using multiple methods. For example, Kochanska, Murray, and Harlan (2000) used observational and parent-report measures to assess children's effortful control and found that the two methods converged, but primarily for data collected at the same point in time. Eisenberg and colleagues have used parents' and teachers' reports of emotion regulation in conjunction with observational tasks in multiple studies (e.g., Eisenberg, Fabes, Guthrie, & Reiser, 2000; Eisenberg, Gershoff, et al., 2001). They have found that observational measures of emotion regulation often are associated with adults' reports of the construct and, in combination, are related to both socialization and children's socioemotional development (e.g., adjustment, social competence). Moreover, Mezzacappa, Kindlon, and Earls (1999; Mezzacappa, Kindlon, Saul, & Earls, 1998) have used a variety of behavioral measures of regulation to examine different aspects of control and relate them to adjustment.

However, emotion regulation is not the only developmental construct suitable for the multi-

method approach; the development of psy-chopathology is often studied using multiple raters and techniques. For example, Cole, Truglio, and Peeke (1997) examined depressive and anxious symptomatology in children and adolescents using a multitrait, multimethod, multigroup approach. Depressive symptoms were assessed in third and sixth graders by self-report (CDI; Kovacs, 1981), parent report (CDI-PF), peer report (Peer Nomination Index of Depression; Lefkowitz & Tesiny, 1980), and teacher report (Teacher's Rating Index of Depression; Cole, Martin, Powers, & Truglio, 1996); anxiety dimensions were examined using similar methods. Data were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis, and findings suggest that in children (third graders), anxiety and depression may be the same construct, whereas, in adolescence (sixth graders), these dimensions are quite separate. Other recent multimethod studies applying a developmental framework have investigated parenting (e.g., Metzler, Biglan, Ary, & Li, 1998), school adjustment (e.g., Lewin, Hops, Davis, & Dishion, 1993), cognitions (e.g., Daleiden, Vassey, & Williams, 1996), and physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development (e.g., Trickett, 1993).

Multiple methods of assessment provide the most thorough assessment of developmental processes, allowing for examination across multiple contexts and domains (e.g., physiological indicators and teachers' reports). In fact, a trend in psychological research is the examination of constructs using latent variables with multiple indicators of a construct in structural equation modeling, as discussed previously. With this method, for example, measures derived from different methods or raters can (if they overlap statistically) contribute to a single measure of the construct that reflects some contribution from each actual measure.

Despite the benefits of a multimethod approach, such multimethod studies are not the norm (likely because of the difficulty in obtaining data from a variety of sources and the uncertainty in regard to correspondence among methods), and there are few data on the relation between physiological indicators of many constructs and questionnaires attempting to assess similar processes. Nonetheless, such approaches are clearly the wave of the future.

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