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Parent-Child interaction therapy (PCIT) has been shown to improve positive, responsive parenting and lower risk for child maltreatment (CM), including among families who are already involved in the child welfare system. However, higher risk families show higher rates of treatment attrition, limiting effectiveness. In N = 120 child welfare families randomized to PCIT, we tested behavioral and physiological markers of parent self-regulation and socio-cognitive processes assessed at pre-intervention as predictors of retention in PCIT. Results of multinomial logistic regressions indicate that parents who declined treatment displayed more negative parenting, greater perceptions of child responsibility and control in adult–child transactions, respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) increases to a positive dyadic interaction task, and RSA withdrawal to a challenging, dyadic toy clean-up task. Increased odds of dropout during PCIT's child-directed interaction phase were associated with greater parent attentional bias to angry facial cues on an emotional go/no-go task. Hostile attributions about one's child predicted risk for dropout during the parent-directed interaction phase, and readiness for change scores predicted higher odds of treatment completion. Implications for intervening with child welfare-involved families are discussed along with study limitations.
There is considerable evidence indicating that similar aetiological and maintenance processes underlie depressive and anxious psychopathology. According to the literature, perfectionism and emotion regulation are two transdiagnostic constructs associated with symptoms of emotional disorders.
This study is the first randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy for perfectionism (CBT-P) and the unified protocol for the transdiagnostic treatment of emotional disorders (UP).
Seventy-five participants with a range of depressive and anxiety disorders and elevated perfectionism were randomized to three conditions: CBT-P, UP or a waitlist control (WL).
Repeated measures ANOVA indicated that the treatment groups reported a significantly greater pre–post reduction in the severity of symptoms of disorders, as well as a significantly greater pre–post increase in quality of life, all with moderate to large effect sizes compared with the WL group. Treatment gains were maintained at 6-month follow-up. The CBT-P group reported a significantly greater pre–post reduction in perfectionism compared with UP, and the UP group reported a significantly greater pre–post improvement in emotion regulation compared with CBT-P.
Findings support CBT for perfectionism and regard UP as efficacious treatments for individuals with depression and anxiety disorders who also have dysfunctional perfectionism. It appears that perfectionism cannot be a serious obstacle to UP. As this is a preliminary study and has some limitations, it is recommended that further research be conducted.
The current study examined the effects of attachment on autonomy, relatedness, and emotion regulation during an attachment interview (Friends and Family Interview; FFI) and a Parent×Child Conflict interaction (Family Interaction Task; FIT) in 49 adolescents (11 to 17 years old). Disorganized adolescents displayed behaviors promoting autonomy and relatedness less frequently and at a lower extent than organized ones in the FIT with mothers but not with fathers. Disorganized adolescents also showed a steeper decrease in heart rate variability (HRV) than organized ones, during both the FFI and the FITs. Moreover, disorganized adolescents responded with a more marked increase in skin conductance level to the FIT with mothers than organized individuals. Dismissing adolescents showed behaviors promoting autonomy and relatedness less frequently and to a lesser extent than secure ones, while displaying more often behaviors undermining autonomy and relatedness in the FITs. Dismissing adolescents also showed a more pronounced decrease in HRV during the FFI than secure and preoccupied individuals; no differences were found between these groups in HRV during the FITs. The results suggest that disorganized adolescents had more difficulties in regulating their emotions during both the FFI and the FITs, whereas dismissing individuals seemed effectively challenged only during the interview.
Within the past three decades, there has been a burgeoning interest in exploring control over emotions. The discourse on emotion regulation is informed by the idea that emotions affect learning in adaptive and maladaptive ways. Students can be taught to strategically manage their emotions in order to support their adaptability to schooling contexts. The process of regulating emotions itself is entangled in neoliberal values. What was once thought to be an unmanageable and private human experience has been placed under the scientist’s microscope and dissected for the purpose of a type of self-management. Furthermore, valued emotional displays are aligned with neoliberal values. Regardless of conditions and contexts, students must remain optimistic, calm, happy, and feel safe so they can respond in adaptive ways to modern economic arrangements. There are emotion rules that align with neoliberal values for selfhood and function to make neoliberal relationships tolerable.
Human personality is the other main broad domain addressed within the general framework of individual differences. The chapter provides a brief description about the main approaches used in the study of human personality. Moreover, substantial questions addressed in this chapter include whether personality influences chess playing style, or whether chess player’s personality differs in some special way from that of other people uninvolved in chess. In addition, whether personality factors may interact in some way with cognitive abilities in chess players is another interesting and relatively novel topic. In contrast with intelligence, however, the body of research about the personality of chess players is rather scarce. Nevertheless, there have been some interesting findings in the latter years that are summarized within this chapter. The ending section of this chapter presents novel data about the interplay amongst personality, motivation, and emotional regulation in predicting chess skill.
A number of strategies used to regulate positive affect (i.e. dampening and positive rumination) have been identified as having particular relevance to hypomanic personality (a proxy measure of mania risk). However, previous findings have been mixed and it is suggested that this may be the result of lack of consideration of the context in which emotion regulation (ER) is occurring.
This study aimed to investigate (a) if use of specific ER strategies predicts mood across social- and goal-related contexts, and (b) if the relationship between hypomanic personality and mood is moderated by greater use of ER strategies.
One hundred and seventy-four participants (mean age 20.77 years, SD = 2.2) completed an online survey assessing (i) hypomanic personality, (ii) self-reported tendencies to use ER strategies for positive emotion, (iii) tendencies to use these strategies in response to both high- and moderate-intensity positive affect in personally generated social- and goal-related contexts, and (iv) current affect.
Trait use of ER strategies was more predictive of hypomanic personality and mood symptoms than context-specific measures; however, this relationship did not hold up for hypomanic personality and mood symptoms when accounting for current affect. Trait dampening was predictive of low mood symptoms but did not moderate the relationship between hypomanic personality and low mood.
While trait measures of ER were more predictive of mania risk and mood symptoms than context-specific measures, further work is needed using experience sampling methods in order to capture the regulatory processes individuals are using in particular contexts, in real-time.
Exposure to early life adversity (ELA) is associated with increased rates of psychopathology and poor physical health. The present study builds on foundational work by Megan Gunnar identifying how ELA results in poor long-term outcomes through alterations in the stress response system, leading to major disruptions in emotional and behavioral regulation. Specifically, the present study tested the direct effects of ELA against the role of parent socialization to shed light on the mechanisms by which ELA leads to emotion regulation deficits. Children ages 4–7 years (N = 64) completed interviews about their experiences of deprivation and threat, a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm, and an IQ test. Parents of the children completed questionnaires regarding their own emotion regulation difficulties and psychopathology, their children's emotion regulation, and child exposure to adversity. At the bivariate level, greater exposure to threat and parental difficulties with emotion regulation were associated with poorer emotion regulation in children, assessed both via parental report and physiologically. In models where parental difficulties with emotion regulation, threat, and deprivation were introduced simultaneously, regression results indicated that parental difficulties with emotion regulation, but not deprivation or threat, continued to predict children's emotion regulation abilities. These results suggest that parental socialization of emotion is a robust predictor of emotion regulation tendencies in children exposed to early adversity.
Leading theories suggest that borderline personality disorder (BPD) is an emotion dysregulation disorder involving lower basal vagal tone, higher baseline emotion, heightened emotional reactivity, delayed emotional recovery, and emotion regulation deficits. However, the literature to date lacks a unifying paradigm that tests all of the main emotion dysregulation components and comprehensively examines whether BPD is an emotion dysregulation disorder and, if so, in what ways. This study addresses the empirical gaps with a unified paradigm that assessed whether BPD is characterized by five leading emotion dysregulation components compared to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and healthy control (HC) groups.
Emotion was assessed across self-report, sympathetic, and parasympathetic indices. Participants with BPD, GAD, and HCs (N = 120) first underwent baseline periods assessing basal vagal tone and baseline emotional intensity, followed by rejection-themed stressors assessing emotional reactivity. Participants then either reacted normally to assess emotional recovery or attempted to decrease emotion using mindfulness or distraction to assess emotion regulation implementation deficits.
Individuals with BPD and GAD exhibited higher self-reported and sympathetic baseline emotion compared to HCs. The BPD group also exhibited self-reported emotion regulation deficits using distraction only compared to the GAD group.
There is minimal support for several emotion dysregulation components in BPD, and some components that are present appear to be pervasive across high emotion dysregulation groups rather than specific to BPD. However, BPD may be characterized by problems disengaging from emotion using distraction.
Current psychological interventions for psychosis focus primarily on cognitive and behavioural management of delusions and hallucinations, with modest outcomes. Emotions are not usually targeted directly, despite evidence that people with psychosis have difficulty identifying, accepting and modifying affective states.
This study assessed the impact of emotion regulation skills practice on affect and paranoia in seven people who met criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
The study utilised a single case ABA design and measured emotion regulation skills, affect and paranoia over baseline, intervention and withdrawal of intervention phases. We predicted that eight sessions of skills rehearsal would lead to improved emotion regulation, reduced negative affect, increased positive affect, and reduced paranoia.
Most participants were able to learn to regulate their emotions, and reported reduced negative affect and paranoia. There was no clear pattern of change for positive affect.
These findings suggest that emotion can be targeted in psychosis, and is associated with reduced paranoia. Emotion regulation may constitute a key treatment target in cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a notable risk factor for depressive disorders. Though multiply determined, increased sensitivity to stress (stress sensitization) and difficulty managing distress (emotion regulation) may reflect two pathways by which CSA confers depression risk. However, it remains unclear whether stress sensitization and emotion regulation deficits contribute to depression risk independently or in a sequential manner. That is, the frequent use of maladaptive emotion regulation responses and insufficient use of those that attenuate distress (adaptive emotion regulation) may lead to stress sensitization. We tested competing models of CSA, stress sensitization, and emotion regulation to predict depression symptoms and depressive affects in daily life among adults with and without histories of CSA. Results supported a sequential mediation: CSA predicted greater maladaptive repertoires that, in turn, exacerbated the effects of stress on depression symptoms. Maladaptive responses also exacerbated the effects of daily life stress on contemporaneous negative affect (NA) levels and their increase over time. Independent of stress sensitization, emotion regulation deficits also mediated CSA effects on both depressive outcomes, though the effect of maladaptive strategies was specific to NA, and adaptive responses to positive affect. Our findings suggest that emotion regulation deficits and stress sensitization play key intervening roles between CSA and risk for depression.
In session 8, the patient is queried about issues of anger management, and is taught emotion regulation skills. This includes teaching the anger toolbox, a set of tools to use when angry. In this session, the patient is also taught several emotion regulation techniques: diaphragmatic breathing for relaxation, emotion distancing, and the use of adaptive emotional states. Two forms of behavioral activation are taught: encouraging exercise and doing wall push-ups and prescribing pleasurable activities. (Of note, throughout the treatment we have the patient do behavioral activation. We consider such actions as stretching and interoceptive exposure to be a form of behavioral activation in that they cause the patient to enter a new zone of experience and involve activity.)
In session 3, applied stretching is taught, and the patient is led once more through the whole body muscle relaxation (with contract-release and stretch-release relaxation) with visualization. As in almost all lessons, there is a section on mindfulness and stretching. The chapter introduces a Bad Memory Protocol, which consists of a set of “tools,” for example, emotion regulation and relaxation-type techniques, to be used when unwanted bad memories occur or when upset for any reason. It serves as practice in emotion regulation, a set of emotion regulation techniques. As indicated in the last session, the therapist should be sure that the patient does the stretching and other motions, and if the patient does not, the therapist should encourage the patient to do so, all the while with a playful mien, a playful demeanor. This models a positive way of interacting and it also creates new positive associations to the topics being discussed. At times, to promote relaxation, the therapist should purposefully slow and deepen the voice. This also creates a sense of shift in the session: a shift in voice and emotional register.
Caregivers of young infants are often well practiced in detecting and interpreting the presence or absence of infant emotion. This is particularly true in the case of negative emotions, motivating caregivers to take on the mantel of detective. Why is the baby crying? Is he/she hungry? Cold? Too hot? Angry? Gassy? Tired? Bored? A caregiver’s need to search for clues reflects infants’ rather limited communicative repertoire, coupled with a restricted behavioral toolbox. Over the first 2 years of life, children’s expression and experience of emotion becomes more expansive, providing greater insight into the cause of any one emotional experience and the needed response. However, even at this point, parents and caregivers play an important role in modulating infants’ emotional experiences, since much of emotion regulation is first implemented externally until the child can internalize and develop effective stand-alone regulatory responses.
The purpose of this chapter is to discuss research in motivation, self-regulation, and emotion that includes gender as a variable. Specifically, we propose using an intersectionality perspective and a culturally situated understanding of women’s motivational and emotional experiences, and describe data from our labs in Germany and Singapore in order to illustrate this position. Our findings indicate that women’s motivational experience in achievement domains is tied to avoidant motivation and their lower ability to self-regulate negative emotion in the face of goal difficulties or goal failure. Compared to men, women’s more fearful enactment of the implicit achievement motives is related to their adoption of a lower self-attributed achievement motive, which, in turn, lowers women’s well-being. We discuss how cultural norms and gender socialization lead to a complex interplay of parenting, social-normative, and personality systems and processes that contribute to a different motivational and emotional experience for men versus women.
Although deficits in affective processing are a core component of anorexia nervosa (AN), we lack a detailed characterization of the neurobiological underpinnings of emotion regulation impairment in AN. Moreover, it remains unclear whether these neural correlates scale with clinical outcomes.
We investigated the neural correlates of negative emotion regulation in a sample of young women receiving day-hospital treatment for AN (n = 21) and healthy controls (n = 21). We aimed to determine whether aberrant brain activation patterns during emotion regulation predicted weight gain following treatment in AN patients and were linked to AN severity. To achieve this, participants completed a cognitive reappraisal paradigm during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Skin conductance response, as well as subjective distress ratings, were recorded to corroborate task engagement.
Compared to controls, patients with AN showed reduced activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) during cognitive reappraisal [pFWE<0.05, threshold-free cluster enhancement (TFCE) corrected]. Importantly, psycho–physiological interaction analysis revealed reduced functional connectivity between the dlPFC and the amygdala in AN patients during emotion regulation (pFWE<0.05, TFCE corrected), and dlPFC-amygdala uncoupling was associated with emotion regulation deficits (r = −0.511, p = 0.018) and eating disorder severity (r = −0.565, p = .008) in the AN group. Finally, dlPFC activity positively correlated with increases in body mass index (r = 0.471, p = 0.042) and in body fat mass percentage (r = 0.605, p = 0.008) following 12 weeks of treatment.
Taken together, our findings indicate that individuals with AN present altered fronto-amygdalar response during cognitive reappraisal and that this response may serve as a predictor of response to treatment and be linked to clinical severity.
Mental imagery is defined as the mental representation of future events, actions, or tasks. Imagery techniques have been frequently used as means to change behavior. Numerous strategies have been used including guided imagery, mental simulations, and functional imagery training. Several theories explain how mental imagery may change behavior, including social cognitive, emotion regulation, and elaboration intrusion theories. Key mediators of imagery interventions include self-efficacy and outcome expectancies, emotion regulation, cue accessibility, and desires and intrusive thoughts. Imagery interventions are effective in changing behavior, typically with small-to-medium effect sizes. Imagery interventions are more effective in older populations, when detailed instructions are provided, and if they are longer in duration. Practitioners considering using imagery to change behavior should consider (1) imagery intervention content and format; (2) selection of the appropriate target audience; (3) identification of means to promote imagery intervention effectiveness; (4) identification of training and skills required for the type of imagery; (5) the appropriate dose of imagery; (6) inclusion of methods to evaluate imagery intervention fidelity; and (7) means to evaluate the efficacy and theory-based processes of imagery interventions. More high-quality experimental and intervention research evaluating imagery techniques on behavior change in diverse behaviors, contexts, and populations is required.
We review basic science research on neural mechanisms underlying emotional processing in individuals of differing socioeconomic status (SES). We summarise SES differences in response to positive and negative stimuli in limbic and cortical regions associated with emotion and emotion regulation. We discuss the possible relevance of neuroscience to understanding the link between mental health and SES. We hope to provide insights into future neuroscience research on the etiology and pathophysiology of mental disorders relating to SES.
The effect of working memory training (WM-T) has been found to transfer to emotional wellbeing, despite some debate on whether an affective component in training is necessary to achieve specific emotion-related benefits. These novel cognitive trainings have not yet been tested in highly anxious individuals, who have deficits in implicit and explicit emotional regulation and should be the potential beneficiaries of these trainings.
We designed two types of mobile phone-based training applications: (1) WMT and (2) an emotional working memory training (EWM-T) that comprised negative face distraction. Ninety-eight participants (33, WM-T; 35, EWM-T; 30, Control group) with high trait anxiety completed the 21-day intervention or placebo program and conducted pre- and post-test procedures, including questionnaires, emotional regulation and emotional Stroop tasks alongside electroencephalogram recording. Late positive potential (LPP) in emotion regulation task and P3 in the emotional Stroop task were adopted as neutral indicators for the explicit and implicit affective regulation/control processing.
Those who had received training (WM-T and EWM-T) showed enhanced explicit regulation (indexed by reduced LPP during reappraisal) compared with the control. Besides, individuals in EWM-T showed reduced behavioral attention bias and a decline of P3 in response to negative faces in an emotional Stroop task. The altered neural indicators were correlated with corresponding behavior indexes that contributed to the anxiety alleviation.
The general WM-T was effective in enhancing explicit emotional regulation, while training with emotional add-in further improved implicit emotional control. (E)WM-T shows potential as a beneficial intervention for the anxiety population.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for psychosis currently yields modest outcomes and must be improved. Attachment imagery may be an effective means of reducing severity of paranoid beliefs and associated affect. Experimental studies have demonstrated these effects in non-clinical groups. The impact in clinical populations remains untested.
This study assessed the impact of a brief attachment imagery task on paranoia and mood, in two people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Two single case studies are presented. Both participants were working age adults with persecutory delusions. The study utilised an A-B-A design. Participants were recruited for a 6-week period, with a 2- and 3-week baseline respectively, 1-week intervention phase, and follow-up phase matched to duration of baseline. Trait paranoia and attachment were measured at the start of the baseline. State paranoia and affect were measured daily over the 6-week period.
For both participants, the baseline phase was characterised by high and variable levels of paranoia, which reduced during the intervention phase, with a return to baseline scores at follow-up. We found a similar pattern for negative affect, and the reverse pattern for positive affect.
Attachment imagery may function as an effective emotion regulation strategy for people with psychosis. Continued use is likely to be needed to maintain gains. This brief task could prove valuable to people needing skills to manage paranoia and mood, and give clinicians confidence that people can manage short-term distress in CBT for psychosis, for example when addressing past trauma.
While negative affect reliably predicts binge eating, it is unknown how this association may decrease or ‘de-couple’ during treatment for binge eating disorder (BED), whether such change is greater in treatments targeting emotion regulation, or how such change predicts outcome. This study utilized multi-wave ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to assess changes in the momentary association between negative affect and subsequent binge-eating symptoms during Integrative Cognitive Affective Therapy (ICAT-BED) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy Guided Self-Help (CBTgsh). It was predicted that there would be stronger de-coupling effects in ICAT-BED compared to CBTgsh given the focus on emotion regulation skills in ICAT-BED and that greater de-coupling would predict outcomes.
Adults with BED were randomized to ICAT-BED or CBTgsh and completed 1-week EMA protocols and the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) at pre-treatment, end-of-treatment, and 6-month follow-up (final N = 78). De-coupling was operationalized as a change in momentary associations between negative affect and binge-eating symptoms from pre-treatment to end-of-treatment.
There was a significant de-coupling effect at follow-up but not end-of-treatment, and de-coupling did not differ between ICAT-BED and CBTgsh. Less de-coupling was associated with higher end-of-treatment EDE global scores at end-of-treatment and higher binge frequency at follow-up.
Both ICAT-BED and CBTgsh were associated with de-coupling of momentary negative affect and binge-eating symptoms, which in turn relate to cognitive and behavioral treatment outcomes. Future research is warranted to identify differential mechanisms of change across ICAT-BED and CBTgsh. Results also highlight the importance of developing momentary interventions to more effectively de-couple negative affect and binge eating.