Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Emotion regulation in children and adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Why do children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulties with acquiring emotion regulation skills; and how is this related to their social impairments and comorbid psychopathology?

Carolien Rieffe
NutsOhra NutsOhra


This project is part of the ‘Emotion Focus Group’, which is focused on social and emotional competence in children and adolescents who have communicative impairments, such as children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH), children with Specific Language Impairments (SLI), and children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

see www.focusonemotions.nl


Center for Autism, Leiden

Leo Kannerhuis, Doorwerth

Stony Brook Hospital, NY, USA

Emotions guide our daily social interactions; they help to bond with others and to solve conflicts, but what if you cannot control your emotions? For children who have problems with the regulation of their own emotions, as we frequently see in children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), emotions might hinder rather than strengthen their social relationships.

The development of skills for emotion regulation is a lifelong process, which is especially challenging for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who participate less or differently in daily social interactions, thus creating a possible vicious circle. In this research line, we study children with ASD at the whole age-range, from toddlerhood to adolescence (2 - 16 years old) and examine i) what factors can be identified to explain impaired emotion regulation skills in children with ASD; and ii) the extent to which emotion regulation in these children hinders or contributes to their social functioning (e.g. empathy, friendships, play behaviors) and symptoms of psychopathology (e.g. depression, anxiety, aggression).

To answer these questions, various studies are run simultaneously, involving different methods (observation, eye tracking, parent reports, self-reports), and different informants (child, parent, teacher).

Connection with other research

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