A componential emotion approach for the assessment of emotional awareness in youth
Fontaine, Johnny R.J.
Van Ryckeghem, Dimitri M.L.
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The Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEAS-C) is a performance-based instrument that assesses emotional awareness in the structure of written responses to a set of real-life scenarios. While it is theoretically expected that emotional awareness develops with age, virtually no age differences have been established with the LEAS-C. The present study investigated whether an adaptation of the instructions and scoring procedure on the basis of the componential emotion approach could improve the validity of the LEAS-C and reveal the theoretically expected age differences. An adapted LEAS-C was administered to a sample of 574 children and adolescents and scored with the original and a new componential scoring procedure. An acceptable reliability for the original and a good reliability and a high interrater reliability for the componential scoring procedure were observed. Multigroup confirmatory factor analyses showed measurement invariance of factor loadings and intercepts across children (8 to 12 years) and adolescents (13 to 16 years) for all tested models, for both scoring procedures. A one-factor model fitted well for the total scores and self and other scores for both scoring procedures. The pattern of relationships with alexithymia, emotional intelligence, intelligence, personality, and social and emotional impairment as well as gender differences were comparable with prior research. Furthermore, the expected relationship with age was found, with stronger correlations for the componential than the original scoring procedure. In conclusion, analyses of the reliability, internal structure, and nomological network supported the adaptations of the LEAS-C on the basis of the componential emotion approach.