A developmental analysis of elementary school-aged children's concepts of pride and embarrassment

Author/s: 
Laura Beizer Seidner, Deborah Stipek, Norma Deitch Feshbach
Year of Publication: 
1988

Developmental changes in conditions engendering pride and embarrassment were explored. Subjects included 41 adults and 189 5-, 7-, 9-, and 11-year-old children from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Subjects were asked to report events that had made them feel proud, embarrassed, happy, and sad. Content analyses of responses concerning pride and embarrassment indicated that references to noncontingent, uncontrollable events decreased with age, but most 5-year-olds understood that feelings of pride and, to a lesser extent, embarrassment result primarily from outcomes controlled by and contingent on one's own behavior or characteristics. Responses of children in all 4 age groups and adults suggest that an audience is important for both pride and embarrassment, but particularly for embarrassment. An audience and external reinforcement were more important in children's than in adults' reports of pride. Developmental change was found in the standards used to evaluate emotional experiences; references to social comparison increased with age and references to mastery decreased.

APA Citation

Seidner, L. B., Stipek, D., & Feshbach, N. D. (1988). A developmental analysis of elementary school-aged children's concepts of pride and embarrassment.