Lecture 12

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30 Oct 2010
School
Department
Course
Psyc18 t 12
Emotions and mental health in childhood
Emotional disorders in middle childhood
- Externalizing disorders t anger, hostility, aggression, stealing, lying
- Internalizing disorders t depress, anxiety
- In adolescents, there are still externalizing and internalizing disorders, in addition to drug use
and eating disorders
- Gender matters a lot
o Externalizing disorders more prevalent in boys
3 boys :1 girl diagnose with exernalizing disorders
o Internalizing disorders more prevalent in girls
o This is due to environmental and biological/genetic differences (nature vs. nurture)
E.g. hormones
o Society treats boys and girls differently
Western society t boys encouraged to express anger while girls encouraged to
express fear/sadness
The stress tdiathesis hypothesis
- You need to be biologically predisposed then come into contact with particular environmental
factors to develop emotional disorder
- E.g. siblings can both lose their parents but maybe only one develop emotional disorder
Example of environmental risks in childhood
1. Parental conflict
- Externalizing disorders t child more likely to develop mood disorders
o For girls and boys
- Frequent, severe, overt hostility (e.g. parents screaming at each other) is worst factor
- Divorce not the culprit but the fighting that they had before the divorce that is the culprit
- How may witnessing conflict cause aggression
o Modeling t children learn that anger and verbal/physical aggression is how to deal with
conflict
o Increased arousal t the child is just upset
o Biased appraisal t sensitivity to hostility; perceive neutral situation as hostile because so
used to anger in family
2. Parental depression
- /(ív]U]vZ]o[o]lo]Z}}}(]vP
o May be due to poor attachment to depressed parent
o Learn social interaction from depressed parent to be depressed
Will end up treating people the same way
E.g. if mother is depressed, child learns that dad and siblings are trying not to
µZU}ZovZ](Z}v[Áv}Z}o}vPÇÁ]Z
him, he has to be sad
3. Attachment failure
- Could be originated from relationship with depressed parent
- Ambivalent t children who are weary of strangers when parent leaves, this child will become
upset, and then when the parent returns, the child will become difficult to comfort; may be
upset/angry with parent
- Avoidant t Z}Áv}(v}Àv}vPU}v[]ÀoÇl}vl}u(}
from parent; may even actively avoid parent
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- Disorganized t child is showing a mixture of avoidance, resistance, and a desire of attachment.
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caregiver. Later on the child may become the caregiver. May result from caregiver who is
inconsistent with attachment and child cannot conceptualize the type of attachment
- Only disorganized attachment style is likely to be a factor that determines emotional disorder
Nature vs. nurture
- Risk factors t parental conflict, parental disorder, attachment failure
- Protective factors t e.g. close relationship to sibling/grandparent, achievement at school
o Environmental factors that allow child to function well with stress instead of
succumbing to stress
- Biological predisposition t e.g. gender, exposure to particular physical factor before birth
o E.g. mom was smoking or drinking during pregnancy, increase mood disorder in child
- Do they each contribute equally?
o /vZ}vÆ}(]vP]}Y
Men and women develop eating disorders differently
Therefore, balance of these factors is different depending if you are male or
female
Eating disorders and emotions
- Heatherton
o Individuals engage in bingeing/purging to escape from feeling bad
o Seeking comfort/distraction in overeating
o Guilt may lead to purging
- Jansch
o Anorexics are impaired to judging people and their own emotions
o Insensitive to emotions
- Eating disorders may be a way to manage emotional disorders
- There is an obvious link
Stress-diathesis model applied to eating disorders
- nature
o Biochemical abnormalities t strange activity of hormones/neurotransmitters
o Genes t latent/recessive gene that causes certain abnormalities
- Nurture
o Low self-esteem
o Loneliness
o Perceived lack of control over own life
o Physical or sexual abuse
o Social pressure to be thin
o Cultural preoccupation with physical appearance
Which combinations cause eating disorders?
- May be a combination of biochemical abnormalities + low self-esteem+loneliness
- Maybe genes+physical abuse
- Various ways of combining biology+environmental factors
- Maybe these are ways of combining for women, but same for men?
Genes
- Baker
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