You are here: Home / Research / Projects / Building the Foundations for a Joyful Life: An Investigation of How Children Can Learn to Think Positively

Building the Foundations for a Joyful Life: An Investigation of How Children Can Learn to Think Positively

Headshot of Cynthia Stifter

PI: Cynthia A. Stifter

John Templeton Foundation 43177
Administered in: Health and Human Development

http://www.hhdev.psu.edu/ebp/

Abstract:

The foundation for a joyful life develops over time and within the parent-child relationship. Children contribute to this potential through their level of positive emotions and their curiosity about the world around them. Variation in children’s experience of positive emotions and approach toward new information is referred to as temperament. One developmental task of early childhood that may be foundational to a joyful life is the ability to modulate negative emotions and up-regulate positive emotions. Parents are central to their children’s emotion regulation by socializing them towards more positive emotions as well as curiosity, which is linked to positive emotions. The goal of this project is to examine how temperament and parent emotion socialization predict later child well-being including emotion regulation, positive affect and curiosity. Children are being tested at 4.5 and 5.5 years and their well-being will be assessed at first grade. Parent’s encouragement and support of their children's positive reappraisal and curiosity is also being assessed. It is expected that the results of this study will enhance our understanding of the origins of a joyful life and guide future research. 

Graduate Students:

  • Mairin Augustine
  • Penina Backer
  • Katie Grills
  • Kameron Moding