Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Abbey Eisenhower

Second Advisor

Laurel Wainwright

Third Advisor

Jean Rhodes


Language is considered to be an essential psychological tool needed to master one’s behavior and cognition (Vygotsky, 1962). Early language ability allows young children to express their needs and wants to the caretakers around them (expressive language; Cole, Armstrong & Pemberton, 2010). Researchers also point out that language is a resource that enables children to understand situations they are in and regulate their frustrations (Cole et al., 2010). This study tested whether there is a causal link between language and self-regulation by conducting an experimental design to focus on testing the effects of a child’s vocabulary levels, which was enriched through an emotion vocabulary training paradigm, on their observed level of emotion regulation. Though no significant relationships were found in the experimental design, small to moderate effect sizes were found, and the overall association between language and behavioral adjustment, as reported by parents, was approaching significance. Gender was also considered as a moderator of the relationship between emotion vocabulary and emotion regulation but was not found to be significantly related. Finally, these findings reveal targets for child-focused and school-based interventions for young children.


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