Testing whether implicit emotion regulation mediates the association between discrimination and symptoms of psychopathology in late childhood: An RDoC perspective

T. G. Vargas*, V. A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Discrimination has been associated with adverse mental health outcomes, though it is unclear how early in life this association becomes apparent. Implicit emotion regulation, developing during childhood, is a foundational skill tied to a range of outcomes. Implicit emotion regulation has yet to be tested as an associated process for mental illness symptoms that can often emerge during this sensitive developmental period. Youth aged 9-11 were recruited for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Associations between psychotic-like experiences, depressive symptoms, and total discrimination (due to race, ethnicity, nationality, weight, or sexual minority status) were tested, as well as associations with implicit emotion regulation measures (emotional updating working memory and inhibitory control). Analyses examined whether associations with symptoms were mediated by implicit emotion regulation. Discrimination related to decreased implicit emotion regulation performance, and increased endorsement of depressive symptoms and psychotic-like experiences. Emotional updating working memory performance partially mediated the association between discrimination and psychotic-like experiences, while emotional inhibitory control did not. Discrimination and implicit emotion regulation could serve as putative transdiagnostic markers of vulnerability. Results support the utility of using multiple units of analysis to improve understanding of complex emerging neurocognitive functions and developmentally sensitive periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1634-1647
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 18 2021

Keywords

  • depression
  • discrimination
  • emotion
  • emotion regulation
  • psychosis
  • systemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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