A Longitudinal Study of Emotion Regulation, Emotion Lability-Negativity, and Internalizing Symptomatology in Maltreated and Nonmaltreated Children


  • This research was supported by a grant awarded to Dante Cicchetti and Fred A. Rogosch from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (DA 17741) and a grant awarded to Dante Cicchetti from the Spunk Fund Inc. We thank Carol Ann Dubovsky for her assistance in data management. We are grateful to the study participants and research staff at Mt. Hope Family Center, Rochester, New York.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jungmeen Kim-Spoon, Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061. Electronic mail may be sent to jungmeen@vt.edu.


The longitudinal contributions of emotion regulation and emotion lability-negativity to internalizing symptomatology were examined in a low-income sample (171 maltreated and 151 nonmaltreated children, from age 7 to 10 years). Latent difference score models indicated that for both maltreated and nonmaltreated children, emotion regulation was a mediator between emotion lability-negativity and internalizing symptomatology, whereas emotion lability-negativity was not a mediator between emotion regulation and internalizing symptomatology. Early maltreatment was associated with high emotion lability-negativity (age 7) that contributed to poor emotion regulation (age 8), which in turn was predictive of increases in internalizing symptomatology (from age 8 to 9). The results imply important roles of emotion regulation in the development of internalizing symptomatology, especially for children with high emotion lability-negativity.