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Temperamental vulnerability to emotion dysregulation and risk for mental and physical health challenges

  • Susan D. Calkins (a1), Jessica M. Dollar (a1) and Laurie Wideman (a2)


Emotion dysregulation characterizes many forms of psychopathology. Patterns of dysregulation occur as a function of a developmental process in which normative and adaptive emotion regulation skills fail to become part of the child's behavioral repertoire due to biological, psychological, and contextual processes and experiences. Here we highlight the processes involved in the dysregulation of temperamental anger and frustration that become core features of externalizing problems and place children at risk for more serious forms of psychopathology. We imbed these processes in a larger self-regulatory framework, and we discuss how they influence mental as well as physical health, using data from our 20-year longitudinal study following a large cohort of children into young adulthood. Recommendations are made for future research involving the integration of biological systems with mental and physical health outcomes.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Susan D. Calkins, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 248 Stone Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402; E-mail:


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