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An examination of emotion regulation, temperament, and parenting style as potential predictors of adolescent depression risk status: A correlational study

Authors


Correspondence should be addressed to Associate Professor Eleonora Gullone, School of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia 3800 (e-mail: e.gullone@med.monash.edu.au).

Abstract

Given that depression is a debilitating disorder, it is critical that we advance our understanding about the aetiology of this disorder. This study investigated both traditional (temperament and parenting) and novel (emotion regulation strategy) risk factors associated with adolescent depression. Forty-four adolescents (12–16 years; 64% females) with high scores on a self-report depressive symptomatology questionnaire were compared to a similar group of 44 adolescents with low scores, matched for age, gender, and ethnicity. Significant group differences were present on all assessed risk factors. The presence of high depressive symptomatology was found to be associated with (1) low levels of temperamentally based positive mood, flexibility, and approach behaviours, (2) a parenting style characterized by low nurturance and high overprotection, and (3) emotion regulation characterized by higher levels of expressive suppression and lower levels of cognitive reappraisal. It was concluded that, in addition to specific temperament characteristics and parenting style, use of particular emotion regulation strategies is associated with varying levels of depressive symptomatology. These findings reinforce the importance of incorporating emotion regulation into explanatory models of depression symptomatology. Further research that tests the direction of effects for these cross-sectional findings is warranted.

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