Adolescents who can describe their negative emotions in a precise and differentiated way are better protected against depression than peers who can not. This is the conclusion of a new study on the differentiation of negative emotions (NED) published in the journal Emotion .
"Adolescents who use grainy expressions such as" I feel upset "or" I feel frustrated "or" I'm ashamed "instead of just saying" I feel bad "are better at developing increased depressive symptoms protected from a stressful life event, "explains lead author Lisa Starr, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.
Those who achieve little differentiation of negative emotions describe their feelings in more general terms such as "bad." or "angry". As a result, they may benefit less from useful lessons anchored in their negative emotions, including the ability to develop coping strategies that could help them regulate their emotions.
"Emotions communicate a lot of information, communicating information about the state of motivation, the degree of arousal, emotional value, and an assessment of the person's threatening experience," says Starr. A person needs to integrate all of this information to find out, "Am I feeling confused" or "Am I feeling angry, embarrassed, or have any other emotion?"
Once you know this information, you can use it to determine that The best course of action, Starr explains: "It will help me predict how my emotional experience will unfold and how to best regulate those emotions, so that I feel better. "
The team found that a low NED strengthens the connection between stressful life events and depression, leading to decreased mental well-being.
The study focused exclusively on puberty, which represents a period of increased risk for depression. Previous research suggests that the NED of a person in adolescence falls to the lowest point compared to younger children or adults. Precisely in this decisive time for development, the rates of depression are steadily increasing.
Earlier research had shown that depression and low NED are interrelated, but the research designs of previous studies have not tested whether a low NED is ahead of depression. For the researchers, this phenomenon became the proverbial hen-egg question: did adolescents who showed signs of significant depressive symptoms have a naturally low NED or was their NED low as a direct result of their depressive mood?
The team, consisting of Starr, Rachel Hershenberg, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University, and Rochester graduates Zoey Shaw, Irina Li, and Angela Santee, recruited 233 adolescent adolescents in Greater Rochester with an average age of nearly 16 years (54 percent of them female) and performed diagnostic interviews to test participants for depression.
The adolescents then reported their emotions four times a day for a period of seven days. One and a half years later, the team conducted follow-up interviews with the original participants (of whom 193 returned) to examine longitudinal cutting results.
The researchers found that adolescents who can not properly differentiate their negative emotions are more susceptible to depression than are symptoms after stressful life events. Conversely, those who have a high NED score can better cope with the emotional and behavioral consequences of stress, thereby reducing the likelihood that negative emotions escalate over time to clinically significant depression.
Depression is one of the most difficult public health problems worldwide. As the most common mental disorder, it not only causes recurring and difficult conditions for those affected, but costs the US economy tens of billions of dollars each year and has been identified by the World Health Organization as a major cause of global burden among industrialized nations. In particular, depression in adolescent girls is an important area of study, the researchers note, as this age causes an increase in depression rates with pronounced gender disparity that persists well into adulthood, leading to a variety of negative outcomes, including interpersonal issues , decreased productivity, poor physical health and drug abuse. In addition, the likelihood that people who become depressed during puberty will be repeatedly depressed throughout their lives is higher, Starr says. That's why capturing the emotional dynamics associated with depression is critical to finding effective treatments. "I believe that NED could be modifiable, and I think it could be tackled directly with treatment protocols that target NED."
The team's findings contribute to a growing body of research trying to make progress in the fight against getting up. Rate of youthful depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide. According to the latest CDC data, about 17 percent of students nationwide claimed to have committed suicide, more than 13 percent said they actually made a suicide plan, and 7.4 percent attempted suicide data last year. If you are able to increase the NED of people, you should be able to protect them from stressful experiences and the depressive effects of stress, "says Starr.
Negative emotions are duller, less pronounced in youth
Lisa R. Starr et al., The Dangers of Dull Emotions: Emotional differentiation mitigates the prospective relationship between naturalistic stress and adolescent depression., Emotion (2019). DOI: 10.1037 / emo0000630
Adolescents Who Can Describe Negative Emotions Can Repel Depression (2019, June 28)
retrieved on June 29, 2019
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealings for the purposes of private study or research, no
Part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.