Self-regulation of emotion in late childhood and adolescence

Deplus, S. et al. (online April 2016). A Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention for Enhancing Self-Regulation of Emotion in Late Childhood and Adolescence: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-16. Retrieved May 3, 2016.

From the abstract. Emotion dysregulation is strongly implicated in the development of psychological problems during adolescence. The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention for enhancing self-regulation of emotion in adolescents, adapted from Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy.

We studied the impact of the intervention on depressive symptoms, as well as on transdiagnostic psychological processes related to emotional regulation, namely impulsivity and ruminative thinking. Twenty-one participants aged between 11 and 19 years were offered a nine-session group intervention. …

The present findings provide preliminary support for a group intervention for adolescents characterized by emotion regulation difficulties, targeting transdiagnostic psychological processes (impulsivity and ruminative thinking). Furthermore, by potentially enhancing self-regulation skills, this intervention might constitute an effective method for general prevention of psychological disorders in late childhood and adolescence.

Improvements in rumination and emotional clarity

Caldwell, J. G., & Shaver, P. R. (2014). Promoting Attachment-Related Mindfulness and Compassion: a Wait-List-Controlled Study of Women Who Were Mistreated During Childhood. Mindfulness, 1-13. Abstract.

Numerous studies have shown that mindfulness-based interventions contribute to a variety of positive outcomes in physical, cognitive, and affective domains. Less is known about how mindfulness influences variables associated with close interpersonal relationships.

The present study evaluated a novel mindfulness-based intervention for promoting cognitive-emotional processes that are underdeveloped in people who have experienced unhealthy attachment relationships. In a sample of women who were mistreated in childhood, baseline measures confirmed that attachment anxiety was related to rumination and negative emotion; attachment avoidance was related to emotion suppression and lack of emotional clarity; and both kinds of insecurity were related to emotion dysregulation and lower levels of mindfulness.

Across three measurement periods, a treatment group (N = 17), relative to a wait-list control group (N = 22), evinced significant improvements in the domains of rumination, emotion suppression, clarity of emotions, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. A multiple mediation analysis showed that, of these variables, improvements in rumination and emotional clarity mediated the gains in mindfulness for the treatment group. Also, participants in the treatment group showed significant changes in their use of mindfulness-based language when writing about stressful or traumatic childhood attachment experiences.

Taken together, the results suggest that the intervention led to increases in mindfulness, primarily due to decreased rumination and increased emotional clarity, and these treatment-related changes were specifically related to participants’ thoughts and emotions regarding attachment.