The study titled “Perceived Strengths and Difficulties in Emotional Awareness and Accessing Emotion Regulation Strategies in Early Adolescents” focuses on emotional awareness (EA) and access to emotion regulation strategies (ER) in adolescents. Emotional awareness and regulation are often considered a continuum, but the study reveals discrepancies across samples. The research employed a person-centered analysis to identify distinct profiles of adolescents’ perceived EA and ER. The study involved 414 participants who completed two subscales of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale and a behavioral measure of distress tolerance. Additional criteria included parent and teacher Emotion Regulation Checklists and assessment of adolescent mental health symptoms.
The analysis identified three clusters of perceived EA and ER: Varied EA/Low ER, Low EA/High ER, and High EA/High ER. Gender differences were observed, with more girls in the Varied EA/Low ER cluster and more boys in the Low EA/High ER cluster. The clusters also demonstrated different levels of mental health symptoms and parent- and teacher-reported negativity/liability and problems with emotion regulation. Specifically, the Low EA/High ER cluster showed poorer distress tolerance, indicating that issues with emotional awareness might contribute to inaccurate self-evaluation of emotional abilities. The study underscores the importance of a person-centered approach in understanding adolescents’ emotional development nuances.
The research found that the relationship between EA and ER is not straightforward and varies across different clusters of adolescents. The findings are significant, offering insights into how emotional awareness and access to regulation strategies are interconnected and how they relate to mental health and other emotional development outcomes. The study suggests the need for tailored support and interventions for emotional development in adolescents, considering the different profiles and their unique needs. Additionally, the findings have implications for future research, especially concerning designing and targeting interventions aimed at improving emotional awareness and regulation in young individuals.
Cummings, C., Lansing, A. H., & Houck, C. D. (2022). Perceived strengths and difficulties in emotional awareness and accessing emotion regulation strategies in early adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 31(9), 2631-2643. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-022-02352-8