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Title:Emotion mindsets and depressive symptoms in adolescence: The role of emotion regulation competence
Author(s):Skymba, Haley
Advisor(s):Rudolph, Karen D; Heller, Wendy
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):emotion mindsets
emotion regulation
depressive symptoms
Abstract:Recent theories posit that emotion mindsets (i.e., the extent to which individuals believe emotions are malleable or fixed) play a crucial role in experiences of emotion and influence emotion regulation (ER) processes. Specifically, those with a fixed emotion mindset (FEM; beliefs that emotions are unchangeable) may find emotions to be challenging or overwhelming, making them more likely to show emotion dysregulation and less likely to engage in proactive ER strategies, which may heighten risk for depressive symptoms. This process is of specific interest in adolescence, a period when many first episodes of depression occur. Drawing from mindset theory, this study examined the hypothesis that FEMs would predict depressive symptoms via compromised ER competence. Results supported these hypotheses across two studies assessing participants in mid- and late adolescence. Specifically, using a comprehensive approach to assessing ER, results demonstrated that FEMs were associated with less engagement and more emotion dysregulation. In turn, higher engagement was associated with lower depressive symptoms whereas higher disengagement and emotion dysregulation were associated with higher depressive symptoms. An exploratory examination of gender differences showed that in late-, but not mid-adolescence, the strength of the connection between FEMs and ER differed between boys and girls. These findings highlight that one understudied pathway from FEMs to depressive symptoms may be the manner in which individuals respond to their emotions, implicating emotion mindsets as one target for efforts to improve clinical outcomes during adolescence.
Issue Date:2019-12-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Haley Skymba
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-03-02
Date Deposited:2019-12

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