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19-10-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2020

Cross-Cultural Validity of the Emotion Matching Task

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2020
Natalia Alonso-Alberca, Ana I. Vergara, Carla Zappulla, Rosanna Di Maggio, Ugo Pace, Kristy (Finlon) Sheffler
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We aimed to provide evidence of the cross-cultural validity of the Emotion Matching Task (EMT), as a measure of emotion knowledge in preschool children in different cultures, namely, the United States, Italy, and Spain. In particular, we analyzed: (1) the psychometric properties of the scale in each of the three subsamples; (2) the relations between sex, age, verbal ability, and EK, in the overall sample and in the three different cultures; (3) the pattern of acquisition of the various dimensions of emotion knowledge in the overall sample and in the three different countries.


Participants were 500 children from Spain (N = 180), the United States (N = 158), and Italy (N = 162) from 36 to 72 months (mean age = 53.75), attending several schools and childcare centers in the three countries. Children were administered the EMT and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT).


The EMT demonstrated adequate reliability indices for all three countries. Controlling for the influence of sex, age, and verbal ability, the results revealed between-country differences in all four dimensions of emotion knowledge. The pattern of acquisition of EK was similar in the three cultures.


These results point to the EMT as an appropriate tool for measuring EK in young children from different cultures. Cross-culturally valid measures are needed to evaluate EK in multicultural contexts, and to test the cross-cultural effectiveness of interventions aimed at encouraging emotional competence.

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