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PSYC18H3 (300)
Lecture 12

Lecture 12

Course Code
Michelle Hilscher

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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
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
- /(ξ€ƒΓ­ξ€ƒξ‚‰ξ€‚ξ‚Œξ€žvξ‚šξ€ƒ]ξ‚ξ€ƒξ€šξ€žξ‚‰ξ‚Œξ€žξ‚ξ‚ξ€žξ€šU]vξ€ξ‚Œξ€žξ€‚ξ‚ξ€žξ‚ξ€ƒξ€Z]oξ€š[o]lξ€žo]Z}}ξ€šξ€ƒ}(ξ€ƒξ€ξ€ž]vPξ€ƒξ€šξ€žξ‚‰ξ‚Œξ€žξ‚ξ‚ξ€žξ€š
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
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}Áv}ξ€ƒξ‚‰ξ‚Œξ€ž(ξ€žξ‚Œξ€žvξ€ξ€žξ€ƒ}Γ€ξ€žξ‚Œξ€ƒξ‚‰ξ€‚ξ‚Œξ€žvξ‚šξ€ƒ}ξ‚Œξ€ƒξ‚ξ‚šξ‚Œξ€‚vPξ€žξ‚ŒUξ€ƒξ€š}v[ξ‚šξ€ƒξ€‚ξ€ξ‚š]Γ€ξ€žoΓ‡ξ€ƒξ‚ξ€žξ€žl}vξ‚šξ€‚ξ€ξ‚šl}u(}ξ‚Œξ‚šξ€ƒ
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.
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 /vξ€ƒξ‚šZξ€žξ€ƒξ€}vξ‚šξ€žΓ†ξ‚šξ€ƒ}(ξ€ƒξ€žξ€‚ξ‚š]vPξ€ƒξ€š]}ξ‚Œξ€šξ€žξ‚Œξ‚Y
 Men and women develop eating disorders differently
 Therefore, balance of these factors is different depending if you are male or
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?
- Baker
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