Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 37 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2013 Pages: 4-13
This 5-year longitudinal study explored the relationship between parental emotional and physical abuse and adolescents' depressive symptoms and whether affect dysregulation was able to mediate the symptoms.
Findings from this study on the relationship between parental emotional and physical abuse and adolescents' depressive symptoms and affect dysregulation include the following: maternal abuse was associated with adolescents' reports of depressive symptoms and affect dysregulation as teens transitioned into adulthood; maternal abuse at the beginning of the study predicted adolescents' depressive symptoms in early adulthood 5 years later; and the depressive symptoms reported by the adolescents were partially mediated by affect dysregulation at the beginning of the study, and at each of the three later testing points in the study. The primary purpose of the study was to determine the mediating effects of affect dysregulation on the development of depressive symptoms in early adulthood in adolescents who had been exposed to paternal emotional and physical abuse. Data for the study were obtained from surveys completed by a sample of high-risk youth, n=179, from juvenile justice and clinical settings. The youth completed surveys assessing their experiences with maternal and paternal physical and emotional abuse, affect dysregulation, and the presence of depressive symptoms during three points over the course of 5 years. The findings indicate that the presence of affect dysregulation, or deficits in affect regulation, in adolescents may partially or even fully mediate the relationship between experiences with parental emotional and physical abuse and the development of depressive symptoms in early adulthood. These findings suggest that interventions designed to build affect regulations skills in adolescents may benefit youth who have suffered from parental abuse. Study implications are discussed. Tables, figure, and references
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