story stems, representations, negative emotions, self-conscious emotions, middle-childhood


This research uses children’s story-stem play narratives to investigate dimensions of negative emotional expression. Fifty-one Romanian children between 6 and 11-years old participated in the study. Children’s narratives were coded for three basic negative emotions and five self-conscious emotions. Parents completed a general questionnaire for demographic data and the amount of time they spent with their children. Differences were found for frequencies of negative emotional representations in relation to the specific story-stems in which they occurred. Girls were more likely than boys to enact in their narratives guilt feelings coupled with apology following some wrongdoing. Children who spent more time with parents enacted significantly less anger and fear. Simultaneous expressions of multiple negative emotions were observed in the narrative responses of these middle childhood-aged Romanian children. While findings should be viewed with caution, owing to the small and homogeneous sample, new directions for future research with this assessment method are indicated.

Original Publication Citation

*Apavaloaie, L., Page, T. F., & Marks, L. D. (2014). Romanian children’s representations of negative and self-conscious emotions in a narrative story stem technique. Europe's Journal of Psychology, 10, 318-335.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Europe's Journal of Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor