Patterns of childhood maltreatment predict emotion processing and regulation in emerging adulthood
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 March 2022
Childhood maltreatment is a potent interpersonal trauma associated with dysregulation of emotional processes relevant to the development of psychopathology. The current study identified prospective links between patterns of maltreatment exposures and dimensions of emotion regulation in emerging adulthood. Participants included 427 individuals (48% Male; 75.9% Black, 10.8% White, 7.5% Hispanic, 6% Other) assessed at two waves. At Wave 1, children (10–12 years) from families eligible for public assistance with and without involvement with Child Protective Services took part in a research summer camp. Patterns of child maltreatment subtype and chronicity (based on coded CPS record data) were used to predict Wave 2 (age 18–24 years) profiles of emotion regulation based on self-report, and affective processing assessed via the Affective Go/No-Go task. Results identified associations between task-based affective processing and self-reported emotion regulation profiles. Further, chronic, multi-subtype childhood maltreatment exposure predicted difficulties with aggregated emotion dysregulation. Exposure to neglect with and without other maltreatment subtypes predicted lower sensitivity to affective words. Nuanced results distinguish multiple patterns of emotion regulation in a sample of emerging adults with high exposure to trauma and socioeconomic stress and suggest that maltreatment disrupts emotional development, resulting in difficulties identifying emotions and coping with emotional distress.
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- © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press