Children’s Emotions after Exposure to News: Investigating Chat Conversations with Peers as a Coping Strategy

Ming Ebbinkhuijsen*, Kirsten E. Bevelander, Moniek Buijzen, Mariska Kleemans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Hardly any research has been conducted regarding coping strategies that children can use in response to negative news, although they are frequently exposed to and emotionally affected by such news. Chat conversations with peers about the news could be a coping strategy for children in this regard. To investigate this, children (N = 307; 46.3% girls; Mage = 10.51; SDage = 0.98; range 8–13 years old) participated in a preregistered experiment in which their emotions were measured before and after exposure to a news video on a smartphone and also after a postexposure activity (i.e., chatting about the news as an experimental condition versus chatting about something else or solving a puzzle as control conditions). The results showed that the decrease in negative emotions and the increase in positive emotions were weaker for children who chatted about the news than for those in the control conditions. Thus, seeking social support in online chat conversations did not have the anticipated effect—and might even have an adverse effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1424-1436
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume50
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2021

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