What is Regulation Of Affect?

By Dr. Randy Kulman on Monday, October 12, 2015

GirlThe ability to regulate one’s own affect or emotions can be described as managing feelings in order to complete a task or make a decision. This skill develops throughout life, allowing us to persevere in difficult situations without experiencing a complete meltdown. Children who have difficulty regulating their emotions often exhibit intense emotional and behavioral responses to challenges. For example, a child with this difficulty may have a hard time transitioning from one activity to another less preferred activity.

Regulation of affect helps an individual moderate emotional responses to their environment. It is identified as self regulation by Lezak (1995) and as a capacity for managing affective interference by Brown (1996). It is only recently that emotional self-control has been seen as a core component of ADHD and other disorders involving executive dysfunctions.

Self-control is often measured by tests such as the Roberts Apperception Test and the Thematic Apperception Test. On the Barkley Deficits of Executive Functioning Scale, uses the Self-regulation of emotion items.  The BRIEF has the Emotional Control scale which measures affective regulation.  The Brown ADHD scales tap into regulation of affect via the Managing Frustration and Modulating Emotions Scale (Affective Regulation).

For More Information on Regulation Of Affect, Please Visit The Following Links:

For More Information on Regulation Of Affect, Please Visit The Following Links:

LearningWorks For Kids: The premier resource for executive function information, offering a detailed explanation of regulation of affect, tips for parents, and activities to improve this skill.

KidsHealth: This site offers a wealth of articles and information on various emotionally-heavy situations that children might face.

The Parents Zone: This site provides a bulleted list of tips for parents to help them assist their children in managing emotions.