Chapter

Distress in Adult–Child Interaction

Anthony J. Wootton

in Emotion in Interaction

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730735
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950034 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730735.003.0003

Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics

Distress in Adult–Child Interaction

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Through the detailed examination of interaction this chapter shows connections between forms of child distress and the types of sequence in which they occur. Where the child makes a request, for example, distress can arise in various ways: sometimes when the request is turned down, but also when the parent attempts to go along with the request. Distinctive and extreme forms of distress occur in the latter situation, and analysis reveals how immediately prior agreements form a basis for the child to treat the parental response as egregious. Comparison with incidents of distress in autism suggests a lesser role for local, prior agreements and a greater one for script-like, generic expectations. These observations suggest that the primary units of analysis in the study of emotional displays in typically developing children should be the interactional nexuses which generate them, and that distinctive forms of developmental analysis are implicated.

Keywords: children; development; emotions; sequences; autism; requests; repair

Chapter.  9746 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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