Macquarie University
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Associations between social competence, emotion regulation, language skills, and cultural orientations : | a study with Mandarin-English bilingual preschoolers

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posted on 2022-03-28, 16:13 authored by Yonggang Ren
Social competence is important to preschool children because it is closely related to their social adjustment and taken as a fundamental element of their school readiness. To date, no studies have examined social competence of Mandarin-English bilingual preschoolers from the perspectives of emotion regulation, language skills and cultural orientations. This PhD project was designed to address these issues. The project includes a major study (Study 1) and a smaller-scale study (Study 2) conducted two years after Study 1. Study 1 was designed to investigate how emotion regulation, language skills, and cultural orientations were associated with social competence. Ninety-six children who spoke Mandarin at home and aged between 36 and 69 months were recruited from 15 childcare centres in northwest Sydney. Social competence was measured by teachers’ reports on the Behaviour Assessment System for Children - second edition (BASC-2) with four composites: Externalizing, Internalizing, Behavioural Symptoms and Adaptive Skills. Positive Emotion Regulation and Emotion Dysregulation were measured using the Disappointing Gift (DG) task and teacher report on the Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC). Mandarin and English language skills were measured with standardised language tests. Host and heritage cultural orientations were measured with modified General Ethnicity Questionnaires. The results indicate Positive Emotion Regulation, Emotion Dysregulation, and English skills were associated with social competence. In addition, Positive Emotion Regulation buffered the effects of limited English proficiency on Behavioural Symptoms but Emotion Dysregulation reduced the effects of English skills on Adaptive Skills. Host culture orientation was negatively associated with Internalizing, Behavioural Symptoms and positively with Adaptive Skills. Associations between host cultural orientation and social competence were stronger in girls than in boys. Heritage cultural orientation was not associated with any composite of the BASC-2 either in the overall sample or by gender. Study 2 was designed to examine how proficient Mandarin-speaking children were in English morphemes of plurals and tense and whether positive emotion regulation was positively associated with proficiency in the morphemes. It is important to conduct such an investigation because findings have the potential to provide suggestions for morpheme learning and improving emotion regulation abilities. Eighteen children aged 48-64 months were recruited from seven childcare centres in northwest Sydney. Elicitation was used to test proficiency in plurals and tense. Positive emotion regulation was assessed by the ERC and the DG. The results show that plurals and tense presented great difficulties to the participants and positive emotion regulation measured by the ERC was positively associated with tense scores.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Social-emotional adjustment of Chinese immigrant children in Western countries -- Chapter 3. Bilingualism and development of social competence of English language learners : a review -- Chapter 4. Methods -- Chapter 5. Social competence and language skills in Mandarin-English bilingual preschoolers : moderation effect of emotion regulation -- Chapter 6. Social competence, cultural orientations and gender differences : a study of Mandarin-English bilingual preschoolers -- Chapter 7. Interpretation of errors made by Mandarin-speaking children on the Preschool Language Scales – 5th edition screening test -- Chapter 8. Relationships between proficiency with grammatical morphemes and emotion regulation : a study of Mandarin-English preschoolers -- Chapter 9. Conclusion.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, School of Education

Department, Centre or School

School of Education

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Shirley Wyver

Additional Supervisor 1

Katherine Demuth

Additional Supervisor 2

Nan Xu Rattanasone


Copyright Yonggang Ren 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




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