Clinical and Biological Correlates of Emotional Dysregulation in Children and Adolescents: A Transdiagnostic Approach to Developmental Psychopathology

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Developmental Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2024) | Viewed by 5741

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, 56128 Calambrone, PI, Italy
Interests: disruptive behavior disorders; adolescence; empathy; callous–unemotional traits; emotional dysregulation; aggression; prevention; cognitive interventions; psycho-pharmacological treatment
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Guest Editor
Social and Affective Neuroscience Group, Molecular Mind Lab, IMT School for Advanced Studies, 55100 Lucca, LU, Italy
Interests: neurobiological correlates of psychiatric disorders; disruptive behavior disorders; childhood; empathy; callous–unemotional traits; emotional dysregulation; executive functions; psycho-pharmacological treatment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emotion regulation may be defined as the ability to regulate behavioral and physiological reactivity to sensory stimuli and environmental situations. It entails any kind of strategy aiming to monitor, assess, and modulate emotions in the context of different conditions. On the other hand, the failure to regulate one’s own emotions, that is, emotional dysregulation (ED), has become a diagnostic challenge in the last several decades with a great heterogeneity of clinical presentations and different proposed definitions of the construct, and has been recently considered a core dimension of psychopathology in youths in a transnosographic conceptualization. In childhood and adolescence, it affects at least 1–6% of the general population, and significantly and negatively impacts school functioning and professional outcome, social adjustment and acceptability by peers, and current and later quality of life. For these reasons, ED represents a highly relevant construct in psychiatry research and clinical practice in terms of developmental outcomes and prognostic implications. In light of this, clinicians should always detect the presence of ED when dealing with challenging children and adolescents by means of several validated clinical measures. Along with these, neurofunctional findings based on brain imaging techniques and peripheral indexes of functioning of the autonomic nervous system have recently emerged as reliable transdiagnostic biomarkers of ED in psychopathology.

The principal aim of this Special Issue is to address five major points of ED in youths:

  • Etiology, early precursors and developmental trajectories;
  • Clinical presentations of ED and related constructs (affective lability, irritability, etc.);
  • Neurobiological and psychophysiological correlates of emotion processing and regulation;
  • Clinical assessment and management including neuropsychological evaluation;
  • Psychosocial interventions, psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment options.

Special attention will be given to original research, especially for randomized clinical trials and empirical studies, but systematic reviews and meta-analyses will also be welcomed.

Dr. Annarita Milone
Dr. Gianluca Sesso
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • emotional dysregulation
  • affective lability
  • irritability
  • transdiagnostic dimension
  • children
  • adolescents
  • youth

Published Papers (4 papers)

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23 pages, 353 KiB  
Article
History of Childhood/Adolescence Referral to Speciality Care or Treatment in Adult Patients with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Mutual Relations with Clinical Presentation, Psychiatric Comorbidity and Emotional Dysregulation
by Giulio Emilio Brancati, Ugo De Rosa, Francesco De Dominicis, Alessandra Petrucci, Alessandro Nannini, Pierpaolo Medda, Elisa Schiavi and Giulio Perugi
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(9), 1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13091251 - 27 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1097
Abstract
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that only rarely remits in adulthood. While several studies underlined differences between child and adult ADHD, the relationship between adult clinical presentation and early referral/treatment has been rarely investigated. In our study, 100 adults with ADHD [...] Read more.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that only rarely remits in adulthood. While several studies underlined differences between child and adult ADHD, the relationship between adult clinical presentation and early referral/treatment has been rarely investigated. In our study, 100 adults with ADHD were recruited and subdivided according to a history of referral to speciality care or treatment with methylphenidate (MPH) during childhood/adolescence. The early referral was associated with a history of disruptive behaviors during childhood/adolescence. Current ADHD symptoms were more pronounced in patients first referred during childhood/adolescence but never treated with MPH. Early MPH treatment was associated with lower rates of mood disorders and lower severity of emotional dysregulation at the time of assessment. Negative emotionality mediated the relationship between MPH treatment and mood disorders comorbidity. ADHD patients first referred during childhood/adolescence are characterized by more externalizing features than those first referred in adulthood. MPH treatment during the developmental age may have a role in preventing mood disorders in patients with ADHD, possibly by reducing emotional dysregulation. Full article
19 pages, 700 KiB  
Article
Daring and Distress: Insights on Adolescent Risk Taking and Difficulties in Emotion Regulation from a Network Analysis Perspective
by Luca Cerniglia, Silvia Cimino, Renata Tambelli and Marco Lauriola
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(9), 1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13091248 - 26 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1292
Abstract
We explored the interrelationships between risk-taking and self-harm in typically developing adolescents by examining various contributing factors, such as personality traits, difficulties in emotion regulation, attachment styles, and maladaptive psychological functioning. A sample of 234 Italian adolescents completed the Risk-Taking and Self-Harm Inventory [...] Read more.
We explored the interrelationships between risk-taking and self-harm in typically developing adolescents by examining various contributing factors, such as personality traits, difficulties in emotion regulation, attachment styles, and maladaptive psychological functioning. A sample of 234 Italian adolescents completed the Risk-Taking and Self-Harm Inventory for Adolescents (RTSHIA), the Risk-Taking Questionnaire (RT-18), the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Strategies (DERS), the State Adult Attachment Measure (SAAM), and the Youth Self-Report (YSR). Network analysis was used to visualize and describe the interdependencies among the variables. Risk-taking behaviors were strongly linked to rule-breaking, aggression, and risk propensity, while self-harm behaviors were connected to limited access to emotion regulation strategies and thought problems. Centrality indices indicated that variables such as anxiety/depression, limited access to emotion regulation strategies, and rule-breaking had a high influence within the network. This study provided a comprehensive understanding of the nomological network of risk-taking and self-harm behaviors among adolescents. It highlighted the relative importance of factors such as emotion regulation difficulties and maladaptive psychological functioning in influencing these behaviors. The findings could inform psychological interventions and prevention strategies targeting adolescents at risk for engaging in risk-taking or self-harm behaviors. Full article
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12 pages, 631 KiB  
Article
Persistent Non-Suicidal Self-Injury and Suicidality in Referred Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study Exploring the Role of Cyclothymic Temperament
by Gabriele Masi, Simone Pisano, Gianluca Sesso, Cristina Mazzullo, Stefano Berloffa, Pamela Fantozzi, Antonio Narzisi, Francesca Placini, Elena Valente, Valentina Viglione and Annarita Milone
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(5), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13050755 - 03 May 2023
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Abstract
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is deliberate harm to the body surface without suicidal intent, though it may be a predictor of suicide attempts. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that persisting and recovering NSSI may have a different longitudinal risk for suicidal ideation [...] Read more.
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is deliberate harm to the body surface without suicidal intent, though it may be a predictor of suicide attempts. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that persisting and recovering NSSI may have a different longitudinal risk for suicidal ideation and behavior and that the intensity of Cyclothymic Hypersensitive Temperament (CHT) may increase this risk. Fifty-five patients (mean age 14.64 ± 1.77 years) referred for mood disorders according to the DSM-5 were consecutively recruited and followed-up for a mean of 19.79 ± 11.67 months and grouped according to the presence/absence of NSSI at baseline and follow-up into three groups: without NSSI (non-NSSI; n = 22), with NSSI recovered at follow-up (past-NSSI; n = 19), and with persistent NSSI at follow-up (pers-NSSI; n = 14). At follow-up, both NSSI groups were more severely impaired and failed to improve internalizing problems and dysregulation symptoms. Both NSSI groups reported higher scores in suicidal ideation compared to non-NSSI, but only pers-NSSI presented higher scores in suicidal behavior. CHT was higher in pers-NSSI, followed by past-NSSI and then by non-NSSI. Our data support a continuity between NSSI and suicidality, and they suggest the prognostic validity of persistent NSSI, associated with highest CHT scores. Full article
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9 pages, 570 KiB  
Systematic Review
Emotional Dysregulation and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms: Which Interaction in Adolescents and Young Adults? A Systematic Review
by Lorenzo Conti, Sara Fantasia, Miriam Violi, Valerio Dell’Oste, Virginia Pedrinelli and Claudia Carmassi
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1730; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13121730 - 18 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Emotional dysregulation (ED) has recently been conceptualized as a transnosographic entity in major mental disorders, and increasing evidence has suggested association between ED and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), though the nature of this association is unclear. The aim of the present review was [...] Read more.
Emotional dysregulation (ED) has recently been conceptualized as a transnosographic entity in major mental disorders, and increasing evidence has suggested association between ED and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), though the nature of this association is unclear. The aim of the present review was to examine the possible interplay between ED and trauma exposure in the literature, as well as a possible role for the comorbidity of PTSD or PTSS in adolescents and young adults. In particular, we explored whether ED may represent a risk factor for PTSD or, conversely, a consequence of traumatic exposure. This systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA 2020 guidelines in three databases (PubMed, Scopus, and Embase). The 34 studies included showed a wide heterogeneity in terms of the populations selected and outcomes examined. Most studies used the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) and examined the relationship between ED, trauma, and psychopathological manifestations after the occurrence of trauma, with a focus on child abuse. Although current data in the literature are heterogeneous and inconclusive, this research highlights the role of ED as a mechanism that may mediate vulnerability to PTSD, but also as a predictor of severity and maintenance of typical, atypical, or associated PTSD symptoms, suggesting prevention programs for PTSD and other mental disorders should support the development of emotion regulation strategies. Full article
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