PSYC18 – Lecture 11 Prof’s Speech - Purple
Slide 3 – Emotions and Mental Health in Childhood
- Emotional disorders in middle childhood though adolescence:
- Externalizing vs. internalizing
o Whether the disorder is externalizing (hostility, anger, i.e. conduct disorder, which can hit
as early as 6 years old) or internalizing (characterized by anxiety and depression)
- Drug abuse and eating disorders in adolescence
- Does gender matter in terms of what disorder?
o Yes it does
o Boys more often exhibit externalizing disorders
o Girls more often exhibit internalizing disorders
o This pattern continues through adolescence to adulthood
Slide 4 – Why the gender difference?
o Boys and girls are brought up differently; they are taught about emotions differently
E.g. a hockey coach encourages boys to show anger and aggression
Girls are encouraged to hide anger and to instead be needy and sad
o Difference in genetics can underlie a difference in emotion based disorders
Slide 5 – What is disordered?
- 4 hypotheses (textbook shows how these work together)
- There may an imbalance among emotions
o 1 particular emotion/group of emotions that predominate
o Someone who is depressed is more likely to feel sad than any other emotion
Sadness is more prominent
- Emotional responses are inappropriate
o Responses are happening out of context
i.e. crying in a neutral situation
o emotional responses should happen but do not
- Poor emotion regulation
o Hard time managing emotions once they begin
o Not able to properly deal with/handle emotion
i.e. a child who receives poor results on a test will feel guilty, but not
an internalizing disordered child will be stuck with self-doubt and will
not know what to do with it, will not be able to focus on the positives of
i.e. an externalizing disordered child who’s cell phone is broken by their best
friend, will feel angry and be stuck feeling angry
- What appears to be disordered is actually adaptive, albeit to an atypical and challenging context
o They have learned to enact an emotional style that helped them cope with the context in
Slide 6 – Who is at risk of childhood disorder?
- The stress-diathesis hypothesis:
- An interaction between two things determines whether emotion-based disorder occurs.
- Genetic & physiological predisposition
- AND - Environmental stressor(s)
- E.g. orphaned siblings, brother and sister
o Parents died, same genetics, may not both develop emotion based disorder
o Who will develop the disorder and who will adapt?
o Never absolute – model talks about the probability of the disorder happening
- Genetic and physiological
o The way that nerves and the endocrine system works may make child vulnerable to
- Environment risks: within child, distal (distant/apart from child)
Slide 7 – Example of Environmental Risks in Childhood
- Risk factor: stressor in environment that increases likelihood that child will develop an
emotional disorder, does not guarantee development of disorder
- 1. Parental conflict
o Externalizing disorders
o There is a greater likelihood of developing an externalizing disorder when conflict is seen
o No gender differences
o Not all types of conflict are damaging
o Damaging – verbal, physical conflict
o In divorce, divorce is damaging, and can lead to emotional disorders
But recent research says that the conflict before and after the divorce can lead to
disorder, not the divorce itself
- What type of conflict is worst?
o Frequent, severe, overt hostility
o Not as damaging: child-rearing conflict; silent tension
o Divorce a culprit?
- There is experimental evidence that shows that witnessing overt hostility causes aggressive
Slide 8 – How may witnessing conflict cause aggression?
- Three hypotheses:
- 1. Modeling
- Modelling – children learn how to engage socially by watching their caregivers
- 2. Increased arousal
- Some children have increased arousal relative to other children
- 3. Biased appraisal
- Children may come from homes where there is an unpleasant situation
- They can be hypersensitive when arguments are on the rise because they do not
want to be involved
- They are more likely to think a neutral behaviour means that someone is mad at
- Extremely sensitive to negative emotions
Slide 9 – Example of Environmental Risks in Childhood
- 2. Parental depression
- Internalizing disorders
- Depression/anxiety originates from several sources
- Defective interaction model learned, e.g. anger - In interactions with mom/dad/sibling, anger is not expressed when someone feels
- Sadness blocks anger, but anger makes people work together to fix problems
- But the child will not show anger because they don’t want it to be directed to
- Puts child at greater risk of developing internalizing disorder
- Caregiver’s depression gets in the way of relationship child wants to have with caregiver
- 3. Attachment failure
- May result from parent’s psychiatric problems
- Types of insecure attachment
- Ambivalent, avoidant, disorganized
- Disorganized – predictive as causal factor for disorder
- Disorganized attachment is where the child shows avoidant behaviour
and a desire to connect with others, they sometimes act as the caregiver
for the parent
- Parents are inconsistent, the child develops in an unorganized
- Each predictive of disorder?
Slide 10 – Nature and Nurture
- Nurture + Nature = Risk + Protective factors + Biological predisposition = Develop emotional
o Disorders can be genetically predisposed
o Protective factors can reverse the effects
E.g. relationship with sibling, grandparent, educational achievement, distal
factors can protect
o Some children are like orchids – in the perfect conditions, they thrive, but for some ,
when any risk is at all present, they wilt
- What is the relative importance of these 3 variables?
- Do they each contribute equally?
- Is one more important than another?
- Let’s explore the interaction in the context of eating disorders.
Slide 11 – Eating Disorders and Emotions
- EDs characterized as maladaptive forms of coping in response to negative affect
- Eating disorders can be emotionally-based
- There is often an emotional problem at the core leading to eating problems
- Heatherton & Baumeister (1991)
- “Escape model” to explain Bulimia nervosa
o People feel negative emotion and use binging and purging to distract them
- Negative affect at root of bingeing & purging behaviors
- Jansch et al. (2009)
- Emotion processing deficit and Anorexia nervosa
- Impaired judgment of own and others’ emotions
- Sometimes people have problems judging how they feel and how others feel
- Negative emotions make them engage in fasting so that they feel they have control over their life
Slide 12 – Stress-Diathesis Model Applied to Eating Disorders
- Nature: biochemical abnormalities, genes
o Biochemical abnormalities are often at the base of eating disorders
o Genes are at the base of biochemical abnormalities - Nurture: low self-esteem, loneliness, perceived lack of control, physical or sexual abuse, social
pressure to be thin, cultural preoccupation with physical appearance
o Sociocultural, environmental experiences that you go through put you at risk
Slide 13 – Which combinations cause eating disorders?
- Are particular combinations more dangerous than others?
- Do all combinations lead to eating disorders? And of the same intensity?
Slide 14 – Genes… Girls vs. Boys
- Eating disorders are not female-only disorders.
- Does stress-diathesis model differ by gender?
- This brings us to a timely article…
- Genetic Risk Factors for Disordered Eating in Adolescent Males and Females
- Baker et al. (2009). In Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
- What is the etiologic role of genetic and environmental factors on