Date of Award

Spring 2019

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Alice Davidson

Committee Member

Dr. Amy Armenia

Committee Member

Dr. Stacey Dunn, Dr. Jennifer Queen


The aim of the present study was to explore the content and sources of children’s independently narrated stories about personal experiences with frustration. Additionally, the study examined internal state language in stories that shifted to a resolution or positive emotional tone. Seventeen children (ages 46 – 61 months) attending a laboratory preschool, and twenty children (ages 65 – 78 months) attending kindergarten at a public elementary school shared stories about “a time when you were frustrated.” Stories were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded for reports of total, unique, negative and positive emotions, cognitive states, emotional tone shift/resolution, and resolution strategies. Grounded theory methodology was used to develop coding schemes for the content and sources of children’s frustration. Children narrated experiences with frustration regarding inclusion in relationships, as well as involving instrumental, physical and natural causes. The sources of frustration included peers, siblings, parents and external forces. Stories that were resolved or shifted to a positive emotional tone included more internal state talk (emotion talk, unique emotion terms, negative emotion terms, positive emotion terms). To resolve frustrated stories, children used a variety of strategies observed in Davidson & Welliver’s (under review) research on resolving sad stories. Descriptive analysis suggested internal state talk and strategy usage varied by content and source of frustration. Results provide a foundation for studying frustration narratives in early childhood and supply new understandings of the ways young children make meaning out of frustrating experiences through emotional reminiscing.

Rights Holder

Megan Welliver