Emotional Development Scale
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About Emotional Development Scale
The subscales of the EDS are based on the theoretical perspective of NADP. There are three levels: the autonomic, the limbic, and the prefrontal. The autonomic level refers to the extent of attending to and reacting on different types of stimuli; synchronizing and maintaining attention and eye contact; showing facial expressions; and being able to regulate arousal, share rhythms, and become engaged and activated in interactions.
The limbic level refers to the extent to which the child shows authentic positive emotions, such as joy and happiness, as well as negative emotions, such as mild anger, irritation, and sadness, when frustrated. It refers to the ability to take notice of the emotional reactions of others through body and facial expressions and prosody and to take part in emotional attunement and shared attention. The prefrontal level refers to the child’s ability to control impulses, delay gratification, regulate frustrations, and enter into social interactions where common rules are followed, even if the child disagrees.
This level also refers to whether the child shows more complex feelings such as shame and pride and has the capacity to symbolize and mentalize. The reason for dividing emotional functions into the three levels is to tailor intervention plans, since interventions should begin by addressing the given resource within the zone of emotional proximal development (Hart & Jacobsen, 2018a).
The EDS consists of the EDS-P and the EDS-A, both of which measure the child’s current emotional functioning level on the three levels. Both are designed to collect information about the child’s emotional functions from observations in the natural environment and are intended to support each other. The EDS-P is a performance test carried out between the examining psychologist and the child.
The EDS-A is a structured assessment interview, conducted with as many informants as possible. In this study the same psychologist conducted the EDS-P and the EDS-A. The EDS-P is conducted in a structured setting with the child, where the psychologist gently challenges the child through activities and questions. The psychologist assesses how the child manages the activities in the clinical setting and assesses the quality of the child’s answers regarding mentalization capacity.
The EDS-A is based on asking parents and other informants who know the child well about the child’s competencies and vulnerabilities. The examining psychologist scores EDS-A based on the informants’ answers about the child’s emotional functions when outside the clinical setting. In the current study, the parent was the only informant, with the EDS validated through methods that measure aspects of the parent’s emotional functions.
The scoring system for both the EDS-P and the EDS-A is a 4-point Likert-type continuum ranging from 1 to 4, with 1 = not regulated, 2 = unbalanced, 3 = mildly unbalanced, and 4 = well regulated.