Childhood emotional maltreatment and its impact on emotion regulation
Mulholland, Paula Claire
An aim of this research was to gain prevalence rates of emotional abuse (EA) and emotional neglect (EN) in a community based adolescent sample. This exploratory research also attempted to determine the impact of EA, EN and a combination of the two (emotional maltreatment; EM) on adolescent’s emotion regulation (ER). The impact of temperament, gender and age was also considered, along with the adolescent’s subsequent quality of life ratings. Method: A total of 540 adolescents (mean age 14 years) were recruited through their secondary schools, and completed the following questionnaires: the EN and EA subtests of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ; Bernstein & Fink, 1994); the Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire – Short Form (EATQ – SF; Ellis & Rothbart, 1999); the Basic Emotions Scale (BES; Power, 2006); the Regulation of Emotions Questionnaire (REQ; Phillips & Power, 2007) and the Kid Screen -10 item Health Questionnaire for Children and Young People (Ravens-Sieberer et al., 2005). Results: Prevalence rates of EA and EN were reported. Differences were detected between EA and EN in terms of how they affect experiences of basic emotions and how they impact on ER, even after controlling for temperament. Only EA was associated with aggression, whereas both EA and EN were associated with depressive mood and reduced quality of life. Conclusions: EA and EN are different maltreatment experiences which have different detrimental effects on the individual, therefore requiring different interventions.