Mentalization, emotion regulation and daily wellbeing in help seeking adolescents: an experience sampling method study
Martin, Emma Annabel
This thesis consists of two independent pieces of research. The first study is a systematic review investigating measurement reactivity in clinical psychology research that uses an Experience Sampling Method (ESM). Measurement reactivity refers to the instance when the process of being measured results in changes to the participant’s behaviour, cognitions or emotions. This is important to understand as measurement reactivity can impact on the validity of a piece of research. 18 studies were included in this review. The majority of studies found no evidence of reactivity; however, 8 studies did find some evidence of reactivity to the method. For the most part, this reactivity was mild. These results demonstrate that this method should not automatically be assumed to be inert and reactivity to the method should be considered by researchers using ESM in their clinical psychology research. The second study is an empirical piece of research that examines mentalization and emotion regulation and whether these variables interact to predict daily wellbeing. Daily wellbeing is operationalised through items on stress, negative affect and positive affect. Baseline measures of mental health, mentalization and emotion regulation were gathered. An Experience Sampling Method was then used to assess context, daily wellbeing, mentalization and emotion regulation in 10 help seeking adolescents. Results of multilevel models revealed mentalization to be significant predictor of stress (p = .023) and revealed a significant interaction of mentalization and the variance in negative affect over time (p = .028). No association with positive affect. Emotion regulation was not found to be a significant predictor of stress or positive affect and was no longer a significant predictor of negative affect when entered into a model with emotional distress and an interaction of mentalization and variance in negative affect over time. No significant interaction of mentalization and emotion regulation was found in predicting any measure of daily wellbeing. These results demonstrate the important role of mentalization in stress and negative affect; however, are at odds with the literature demonstrating the important role of emotion regulation in daily wellbeing and the theoretical perspectives that postulate a key relationship between mentalization and emotion regulation in this domain.