Emotion regulation and self-criticism in children and adolescence: Longitudinal networks of transdiagnostic risk factors

R. Gadassi-Polack, J. Everaert, C. Uddenberg, H. Kober, J. Joormann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Adolescence is a time of heightened risk for the development of psychopathology. Difficulties in emotion regulation and heightened levels of self-criticism are two processes that have been proposed as critical risk factors. Considering the accumulating evidence that risk factors rarely work in isolation, there is a pressing need to examine how self-criticism and emotion regulations strategies interact. The present study utilizes a network analysis approach to address this goal. One-hundred and thirty-five children and adolescence (ages 8-15) completed daily-diaries every evening for 21 days (total N of assessments = 2564), reporting self-criticism and use of emotion regulation strategies focused on negative and positive emotions. Network analysis was applied to estimate contemporaneous, temporal, and between-person networks. Results show that emotion regulation strategies are generally positively associated with each other at the within and between individual levels. As predicted, self-criticism was positively associated with rumination and dampening at the between and within-person networks; unexpectedly, problem-solving also clustered with them in the contemporaneous network. Moreover, problem-solving led to next-day increases in rumination and dampening, whereas self-criticism led to next-day increases in rumination but decreases in dampening. Finally, distraction in response to negative affect was closely tied with strategies that up-regulate positive affect. Collectively, these results shed light on the complex pathways through which self-criticism and emotion regulation interact over time.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages52
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


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