Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety

PS11- #B59 - Methodological Approaches to Understanding Emotion Regulation and Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms: Multi-Informant and Multi-Method Study

Saturday, Nov 18
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adolescent Anxiety | Adolescent Depression | Research Methods

     Adolescent emotion regulation (ER) has long been considered a protective factor against adolescent internalizing symptoms (Mclaughlin et al., 2009; Silk et al., 2003; Turpyn et al., 2015). There are varied approaches to measuring ER, such as questionnaires and psychophysiological measurement. Though psycho-physiological measurement is more objective, it has yet to be widely implemented and it is unclear if it outperforms traditional questionnaires in predicting adolescent internalizing difficulties (Bariola et al., 2011).


     Participants were 30 parent-friend-adolescent triads (12 boys, M age = 14.40 years, SD =  1.47, 90% Caucasian). Parents, friends, and adolescents reported on the adolescent’s anxiety and depression (RCADS, Chorpita et al., 2000). Parents also reported on adolescents’ ER (DERS, Gratz & Roemer, 2004). Adolescents’ ECG was collected during a baseline task and analyzed for high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV; Applehans & Luecken, 2006).


       Hierarchical regressions tested associations of adolescent ER (parent report, HF-HRV) and adolescent internalizing symptoms (self-report, parent-report, friend-report). Results indicate that parent-report of adolescent ER was related to adolescents’ self-report of depression (Table 1), as well as parent-report of adolescent depression and anxiety (Table 2), but not friend-report of anxiety or depression. Psychophysiological measurement of ER (HF-HRV) was unrelated to adolescent internalizing symptoms across all reporters.


     Parent-report of adolescent ER was related to adolescent internalizing symptoms, above and beyond psychophysiological measurement of emotion regulation. This could be due to shared method variance, as adolescent internalizing symptoms were also measured by questionnaire. Nonetheless, this suggests that clinicians can continue to use reports of adolescent ER, which are more cost-effective and readily available, when assessing risk for internalizing disorders. These associations should be tested longitudinally with a larger sample size, but provide preliminary evidence for the continued use of traditional reporting methods.

Rachel L. Miller-Slough

Graduate Student
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia

Julie Dunsmore

Associate Professor
Virginia Tech