Background: Emotion regulation is the ability to exert control over one’s emotional state. It involves behaviors such as rethinking a challenging situation to reduce intense emotions. This work is motivated by the absence of Arabic dynamic expression assessments, especially in light of understanding the importance of including emotion regulation in our clinical plan for intervention. This study aimed at validating novel Arabic culturally based related cartoon drawings of emotional expression for the Middle East as a tool to generate a model of self and emotion regulation.
Methods: A cross-sectional face-to-face interview was conducted with 55 children aged 5-14. The participants were asked to identify the emotions by matching one emoji at a time using one of four (or one out of eight in older kids) of our culturally adapted emoticons. The participants were then asked to name the chosen emotion. Data were collected from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the community.
Results: Most participants were 9 years of age and older (70.9%). Most participants correctly identified the emotion by matching the standard emoji to our emoticon. Here, 100% of the participants could identify 13 emotions correctly. The following feelings were the least identified by the participants: bored, thankful, and proud (39%, 43%, and 22%, respectively).
Conclusion: This study successfully replicates the emojis’ emotions in a culturally adapted version. Our cultural and emotional mechanisms and expressions are highly demanding for clinical implementation.
Key words: Emotion regulation, emotion dysregulation, emotion labeling, gesture, body language, culture, Saudi Arabia.