Development of the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEAS-C)
A performance-based assessment of the structure and complexity of emotional awareness was developed, the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEAS-C). A pilot study (N=6, ages 9-12, M(age) =10.2 years) was conducted to construct, trial, and select scenarios suitable for the scale. A larger validity study (N=51, ages 10-11, M(age) =10.3 years) examined the relationship between the LEAS-C and two emotion knowledge tasks: emotion expressions and emotion comprehension; two verbal tasks: vocabulary and verbal productivity; and a cognitive developmental measure: the Parental Descriptions Scale (PDS). Gender differences in LEAS-C performance were also examined. The LEAS-C was significantly related to emotion comprehension, and the verbal tasks. Consistent with adult studies, females reported significantly higher LEAS-C scores compared with males. Gender effects remained when controlling for the two verbal tasks. Preliminary support for the validity of the LEAS-C as an objective assessment of emotional complexity in children is found in this study. Results also suggest that gender differences in emotional awareness occur at a young age.