In recent years, interest in the role of emotion in development has grown enormously. For a long time, emotion was considered inconsequential or a nuisance variable (Campos, 1984). However, in the last two decades, it has become a central variable in research on social development and developmental psychopathology. For example, emotion and its regulation are foci of investigation in work on attachment, social competence, moral development, problems with adjustment, socialization in the home, and many other topics (see Eisenberg & Morris, 2002; Eisenberg, Smith, Sadovsky, & Spinrad, 2004; Saarni, Mumme, & Campos, 1998).

Like many other psychologists, our focus on emotion and its regulation emerged in the last two decades. It initially grew out of an interest in prosocial motivation (i.e., empathy); this interest expanded to include the role of emotion and its regulation in social competence and problem behavior more generally. Because our thinking about emotion grew out of work on empathy and empathy-related responding (i.e., sympathy and personal distress) and its role in prosocial behavior, we first briefly summarize this work. Next, recent research on the relations of individual differences in emotionality and regulation to empathy-related responding is reviewed, followed by examples of research on the role of emotion and emotion-related regulation in children's problem behavior and competent social functioning.

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