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See detailFrustration inducing tasks as tools for assessing adolescent emotion regulation
Battistutta, Layla UL; Steffgen, Georges UL

Scientific Conference (2018, November)

Adolescents can be at risk for the development of mental health symptoms which can be exacerbated by emotion regulation problems. Hence, empirically validated tools to assess emotion regulation among ... [more ▼]

Adolescents can be at risk for the development of mental health symptoms which can be exacerbated by emotion regulation problems. Hence, empirically validated tools to assess emotion regulation among adolescents in experimental settings are needed, but so far potential differences between already existing frustration inducing tasks are not well understood. The aim of the present study was thus to compare the efficacy of two non-verbal distress tolerance tasks – the Behavioural Indicator of Resiliency to Distress (BIRD, Lejuez et al.), and the Mirror Tracing Persistence Task (MPTP; Strong et al., 2003), in inducing frustration in a sample of 72 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 16. Adolescents’ subjective, physiological and behavioural emotion responses were assessed via self-report (PANAS-C; Laurent et al., 1999), heart rate monitoring and persistence on the task respectively, and associated with their self-reported emotion regulation difficulties (DERS-SF, Gullone & Taffe, 2012) as well as strategy use during the task (ERQ-state; Egloff et al., 2006). Both tasks were found to be subjectively frustrating, as evidenced by significant differences between pre- and post- reported negative affect. Beyond the similar self-reported psychological distress for both tasks, stronger negative physiological and behavioural reactions were however found for the BIRD task with higher heart rates as well as a tendency towards a shorter persistence on this task. The emotional responses were found to be correlated with adolescents reported difficulties, above all with their reported impulsiveness. Adolescents’ strategy use of reappraisal and suppression did not differ between tasks. Due to the similar self-reported negative affect after both tasks, these findings validate the use of both tasks in an adolescent population. In addition, they highlight potential differences between tasks in terms of emotion responses. These discrepancies should be taken into account in further studies due to their implications for the interpretation of findings. [less ▲]

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See detailComparing the efficacy of two frustration inducing tasks in the assessment of adolescent emotion regulation
Battistutta, Layla UL; Steffgen, Georges UL

Scientific Conference (2018, September)

In adolescence, adequate emotion regulation skills help to promote resilience and prevent the development of mental health problems. To fully understand these emotion regulation mechanisms, empirically ... [more ▼]

In adolescence, adequate emotion regulation skills help to promote resilience and prevent the development of mental health problems. To fully understand these emotion regulation mechanisms, empirically validated tools are needed to be able to effectively induce and assess frustration among adolescents in experimental settings. However, the differences between the already existing frustration eliciting tools and their use with different adolescent age groups are not well understood. The present study thus set out to test the efficacy of two non-verbal, frustration inducing tasks in adolescence, also evaluating potential age differences and relating them to the use of emotion regulation strategies. Two computerized distress tolerance tasks were employed, including the Behavioural Indicator of Resiliency to Distress (BIRD; Lejuez et al., 2006), requiring children to free a bird from its cage, and the Mirror Tracing Persistence Task (MPTP; Strong et al., 2003), originally designed for adults and consisting of retracing a star as if seen in a mirror. Their efficacy in inducing frustration was compared in a sample of 72 adolescents, split into two different age groups (11-13; 14-16). Adolescents’ emotion responses were assessed on a subjective level via self-report of their positive and negative affect before and after the task (PANAS-C; Laurent et al., 1999), physiologically via continuous heart rate monitoring using a Polar H7 chest strap and behaviourally by assessing adolescents’ persistence on the last level. Additionally, self-report questionnaires allowed to assess adolescents’ habitual use of reappraisal and suppression (ERQ-CA; Gullone & Taffe, 2012) as well as their use during the tasks (ERQ-state, Egloff et al., 2006). Due to their previous use with different populations, differences between the two tasks in terms of their effectiveness in inducing frustration in an adolescent sample were expected. Furthermore, age differences were hypothesized to impact the use of emotion regulation strategies and lead to higher emotion responses in the younger group. Task and age differences were analysed with analyses of variance and revealed higher heart rates (F(4,59)=5.061, p<.001, ηp2=.255) for the BIRD task as well as a tendency towards a shorter persistence on this task (F(1,68)=3.920, p=.052, ηp2= .055). No task differences were found regarding adolescents’ subjective emotional responding (F<1, n.s.), with both tasks being psychologically distressing (F(1,68)= 22.484, p<.001, ηp2=.248). As for age differences, although the younger adolescents reported a higher habitual use of suppression in general (t(70)= 2.072, p< .05, d=.489), no age differences were found in terms of the strategies they used on both tasks (all Fs<1,n.s.), nor in regards to emotional responding (all Fs<1,n.s.). Due to the similar self-reported psychological distress for both tasks, these findings allow to empirically validate their use in an adolescent population aged 11 to 16. The BIRD might be advocated for further use with adolescents as it led to higher heart rates and shorter persistence beyond the produced subjective frustration. Further studies using frustration eliciting tools should be aware of any potential differences in emotional responses that might be produced using different tasks and the implications this could have for the interpretation of findings. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of the Time of Diagnosis on the Perceived Competence of Adolescents with Dyslexia
Battistutta, Layla UL; Commissaire, Eva; Steffgen, Georges UL

in Learning Disability Quarterly (2018)

Inter-group comparison studies have shown that children with specific learning disorders hold lower self-perceptions regarding their abilities than their typically developing peers, especially in an ... [more ▼]

Inter-group comparison studies have shown that children with specific learning disorders hold lower self-perceptions regarding their abilities than their typically developing peers, especially in an academic setting. This small-scale study investigated the potential effect of diagnostic timing on competency perceptions within a sample of adolescents with dyslexia, either diagnosed in primary or secondary school, but paired on duration of intervention and academic impairment. Perceived competence was assessed via self-report on an academic, social and more general level. These measures were complemented by open questions investigating pupils’ understanding and tolerance of their dyslexia. Early-diagnosed adolescents were found to hold higher academic and general competency perceptions. Moreover, pupils’ personal statements to the open questions revealed a statistically significant association between time of diagnosis and understanding as well as tolerance of dyslexia, indicating that early-diagnosed adolescents, compared to their late diagnosed peers, have more adequate representations of their reading disorder as specific and non-stigmatizing and are more open by announcing their dyslexia to others. Hence these preliminary findings suggest that diagnostic timing might lead early-diagnosed adolescents to a more adequate understanding of their dyslexia, which might also be related to higher competency perceptions. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of the Time of Diagnosis on Dyslexic Adolescents' Self-efficacy beliefs
Battistutta, Layla UL; Commissaire, Eva; Steffgen, Georges UL

Poster (2017, September)

Aim: Most of the research on self-efficacy in children with specific learning disorders has focused on inter-group comparisons, showing that these children hold lower self-efficacy scores than their ... [more ▼]

Aim: Most of the research on self-efficacy in children with specific learning disorders has focused on inter-group comparisons, showing that these children hold lower self-efficacy scores than their normally developing peers. As these lower scores might be due to a reduced access to self-efficacy sources (Hampton & Mason, 2003), this small-scale study (N=18) aimed to investigate whether the time of diagnosis might modulate the access to these sources within a group of dyslexic adolescents, either diagnosed in primary or secondary school but paired on chronological age and duration of remedial training. Methods: Mixed methods were employed by using general as well as academic and social self-efficacy scales, complemented by semi-structured interviews investigating students’ understanding and acceptance of their dyslexia. Results: The findings showed that early-diagnosed students hold higher general and academic scores. Further analyses regarding students’ personal statements revealed a statistically significant association between time of diagnosis and understanding as well as tolerance of dyslexia, indicating that early-diagnosed adolescents, compared to their late-diagnosed peers, have a more cohesive understanding and more adequate representations of their reading disorder as specific and non-stigmatizing, all the while being more tolerant and open about announcing their dyslexia to others. Conclusions: An early diagnosis of dyslexia is thus associated with a better understanding and acceptance of the disorder, possibly serving as a protective factor which can consequently contribute to higher general and academic self-efficacy scores. Hence, these findings not only extend the literature on self-efficacy beliefs in dyslexia by investigating the time of diagnosis, but also have important practical implications, highlighting the significance of an early diagnosis beyond the benefits of early rehabilitation as well as the potentially negative psychological consequences of a late diagnosis. [less ▲]

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