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01-04-2011 | Uitgave 3/2011

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2011

Expression of Anger in Depressed Adolescents: The Role of the Family Environment

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2011
Auteurs:
Jennifer Jackson, Peter Kuppens, Lisa B. Sheeber, Nicholas B. Allen

Abstract

The expression of anger is considered to be abnormal in depression, yet its role is only poorly understood. In the present study we sought to clarify this role by examining the moderating influence of the family environment on overall levels of anger expression and anger reactivity in depressed and non-depressed adolescents during conflictual interactions with their parents. One hundred and forty one depressed and non-depressed adolescent participants engaged in a problem-solving task with their parents during which their behavioral expression of anger and heart rate were recorded. The results demonstrate that general levels of parental anger in the family environment (as indicated by the overall level of expressed anger by the parents during the interactions) strongly moderates how depressed differ from non-depressed adolescents in terms of their anger, heart rate and reactivity. Overall, the findings suggest that in depressed adolescents anger is much less adaptively attuned to the environment, consistent with models that predict dysfunction in the regulation of anger that prevents depressed individuals responding adaptively to their social environment.

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