Emotion and cognition

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Janelle Leboutillier

Psych 385The Psychology of EmotionChapter 12 Emotions and Mental Health in ChildhoodEmotions and disordersDisorders of emotional life in childhood and adolescence are states in which young people are no longer able successfully to cope or in which they are getting into serious trouble Much of this area is concerned with extremes of emotions with intense and longlasting states of anxiety of depression or of angerThe Case of PeterA boy with conduct disordervery angry whenever his parents speak to him he replies in a hostile tone He also describes feelings of sadness and lonelinessClassifying childhood disordersThe main system is that of psychiatric diagnosis usually by means of an interview Diagnoses are descriptions of patterns of behaviorThe importance of diagnosis is that someone who fulfills defined criteria for a defined period is usually though not always impaired in their functioningAnother way of conceptualizing emotional disorders often preferred by psychologists is to accept that there are no sharp distinctions between having and not having a disorder There is a continuum The method of assessment here typically involves checklists of symptoms or behavior patterns and sometimes questionnaires with a parent or teacher completes for a particular child At older ages the children themselves complete itIn middle childhood two kinds of emotional disorder become importantoExternalizing disorders defined by anger hostility aggression stealing and lyingoInternalizing disorders which include anxiety and depression with tendencies to withdrawHow are emotions involved in childrens disordersThe two principal emotionbased externalizing disorders of childhood areoOppositional defiant disorderLoses temper argues with adults defies or refuses adult requests or rules deliberately does things that will annoy other people blames others for his or her own mistakes is touchy or easily annoyed by others is angry and resentful and is spiteful or vindictiveoConduct disorderMore seriously antisocial behavior such as truanting missing school before age 13 stealing firesetting sexual assault physical fights physical cruelty to people or animals and use of weaponsThe two main types of internalizing disorder areoAnxietyFears that are abnormal in intensity duration and how they are elicitedoDepressionVery low in mood or has no interest in anything for at least two weeks and this must be different from how the child has previously feltSymptoms weight changes sleep disturbance fatigue feelings of worthlessness inability to concentrate and recurrent thoughts of death or suicideWhat is disordered Hypotheses about the relationship between emotion and disorderPredominance of one emotion systemoMost common view of disorders of emotion in childhood is that one emotion becomes prominent It dominates other possible experiences so depressed people experience more sadness than other emotions or experience sadness more often than other peopleoA disorder is a balance among emotions which instead of being responsive to what happened in the world is biased towards preestablished patterns of certain kindsoAggressive children are more likely to think that someone is intentionally hostile bias of appraisaloDepressogenic attribution styledepressed children are more likely to make attributions for negative events that are stable it will always be this way internal it is my fault and global all situations will be like thisoPredominance in terms of childrens goalsboys think aggression enhances selfesteemInappropriate emotional responsesoChildren with a disorder react to events with deviant emotional responses laughing when someone else is distressed crying when nothing has happened being angry when someone makes a friendly gestureoIt is not that children necessarily show more of one emotion than another but that elicitation of certain emotions seems unusualDysregulationoIn a disorder emotions are not properly regulated They are inappropriate to the social contextoRegulation of emotions as a dimension of temperament based on the effort to direct attentionoRelated to the lack of effortful control so that children with externalizing disorders but not internalizing disorders are impulsive and low in effortful regulation of their emotionsPrevalence of disorders in childhoodIn understanding emotional disorders some of the important findings have come from psychiatric epidemiologythe study of how many people show a particular disorder in the population statistically relating the disorder to factors in peoples lives Two kinds of statistics are importantoPrevalencethe proportion of a population suffering from some disorder over a particular time periodoIncidencethe number of new onsets of a particular disorder in a given timeExternalizing disordersYounger children show more externalizing behaviors than internalizing disordersOppositional defiant disorder is most common in early childhood but conduct disorder becomes more common laterBoys show more externalizing disorders of all kinds than girls throughout childhoodAnxiety disordersThe prevalence of anxiety generally increases with age during childhood Between middle childhood and adolescence the prevalence remains fairly constantThe forms that anxiety disorders take however change with ageoSeparation anxiety disorder is more common in early childhood but overanxious disorder affecting many aspects of life is more common in adolescenceoGirls are more likely than boys to show single symptoms of anxiety and to show anxiety disordersIt is not uncommon for a child to show two different types of anxiety disorder Often anxiety occurs with depressionDepressive disordersBoth normal low mood and depression become more common as children get olderIn childhood boys and girls are about equally likely to suffer from depression By late adolescence females become almost twice as likely as males to be depressedThe stressdiathesis hypothesisOne sibling might suffer an emotional disorder related to the loss while the other might notA general idea about how such differences in outcome can occur A stress is something that occurs in the environment like being orphaned A diathesis is a predisposition to disorder that is inherent in the child But in combination a stress occurring to a child with a particular diathesis can cause a disorder
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