Differential Associations of Threat and Deprivation with Emotion Regulation and Cognitive Control in Adolescence
Lambert, Hilary Kayden
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Research on childhood adversity has traditionally focused on single types of adversity, which is limited because of high co-occurrence, or on the total number of adverse experiences, which assumes that diverse experiences influence development similarly. Identifying dimensions of environmental experience that are common to multiple types of adversity may be a more effective strategy. We examined the unique associations of two such dimensions—threat and cognitive deprivation—with automatic emotion regulation and cognitive control using a multivariate approach that simultaneously examined both dimensions of adversity. Data were drawn from a community sample of adolescents (N=287) with variability in exposure to violence—an indicator of threat, and poverty—which is associated with cognitive deprivation. Adolescents completed tasks measuring automatic emotion regulation and cognitive control in neutral and emotional contexts. Violence was associated with automatic emotion regulation deficits, but not cognitive control; poverty was associated with poor cognitive control, but not automatic emotion regulation. Both violence and poverty predicted poor inhibition in an emotional context. Utilizing either an approach focused on single types of adversity or cumulative risk obscured specificity in the associations of violence and poverty with emotional and cognitive outcomes. These findings suggest that different dimensions of childhood adversity have distinct influences on development and highlight the utility of a differentiated multivariate approach.
- Psychology