AN ECOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF CHILDREN'S MOODS AND THEIR SPONTANEOUS SELF-CONCEPTS

CHRISTA HAMANN TADDEO, Fordham University

Abstract

Drawing from evidence obtained from previous studies of mood and self-concept, this investigation attempted to study children's moods and their spontaneous self-concepts over a period of time in the school environment. Previous research had indicated that there might be a universal human tendency to evaluate one's predominant mood as positive, and that one's current mood might influence the salience of congruent emotional material. Therefore, children in a positive mood might focus on positive cues in memory while children in a negative mood might selectively attend to negative cues. Research also suggested that in different moods the self-concept might change and children might pay attention to different aspects of self.^ Forty-seven sixth graders participated in a diary writing project for seven weeks, each Monday, Wednesday and Friday during English class. In each session they initially rated their moods on a modification of Wessman and Ricks' Elation vs. Depression Scale and then engaged in semi-structured diary writing.^ Subsequently, the diaries were broken down into individual thought elements as units of analysis. Each unit was then content analyzed into predetermined categories as a measure of the spontaneous self-concept.^ Mood, content categories of self-concept, affective tone of categories, sex, and days in the week were the variables used in the analyses of the results. The study had seven hypotheses. The findings revealed that (1) mood level was indeed more elated than depressed and came close to "Feeling quite good" on the scale; (2) the natural environment events of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays did not exert a significant influence on mood level; (3) in their ongoing lives, sixth graders thought much about their peers (17%) but little about their families (5%), and they used evaluative statements quite frequently (13%); and (4) there was a significant interaction of mood levels and statements with affective tone (p < .05). Students in an elated mood wrote significantly more statements with positive affective tone than students in a depressed mood; and students in a depressed mood wrote significantly more statements with negative affective tone than students in an elated mood.^ Recommendations were made regarding the continuation and refinement of the study of moods and self-concept in schools, and their interaction with the environment. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

TADDEO, CHRISTA HAMANN, "AN ECOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF CHILDREN'S MOODS AND THEIR SPONTANEOUS SELF-CONCEPTS" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8223615.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8223615

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