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Heterogeneity in Emotion Regulation Difficulties Among Women Victims of Domestic Violence: A Latent Profile Analysis

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This study identified and examined levels of difficulties in regulating negative and positive emotions among a sample of 210 female victims of domestic violence.
Research over the past two decades supports emotion regulation as a transdiagnostic factor related to the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of a wide range of psychiatric difficulties and risky behaviors; however, prior investigations are limited by their focus on difficulties regulating negative (but not positive) emotions. Further, research has not accounted for the heterogeneity in difficulties regulating emotions. In attempting to fill this research gap, the current study involved 210 female victims of domestic violence (DV; M age = 36.14, 48.6 percent African American) who completed measures that assessed emotion regulation (Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale; Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale - Positive), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale), alcohol misuse (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test) and drug misuse (Drug Abuse Screening Test). Latent profile analysis was utilized to identify subgroups of DV-victimized women who were similar in endorsed difficulties in regulating negative and positive emotions. Differences in psychiatric difficulties (i.e., PTSD and depressive symptom severity) and risky behaviors (i.e., alcohol and drug misuse) were examined across these classes. The study identified three classes of DV-victimized women differentiated by levels of difficulties in regulating negative and positive emotions. Greater psychiatric difficulties were found among classes defined by higher levels of difficulties in regulating emotions, regardless of emotion valence. Risky behaviors were more prevalent among the class defined by higher levels of difficulties regulating both negative and positive emotions. These results highlight the potential importance of tailoring interventions to account for the heterogeneity in negative and positive emotion regulation dimensions among DV-victimized women. Although these results add to the literature on difficulties regulating emotions and their correlates, findings must be interpreted in light of limitations present. including use of a cross-sectional and correlation design, reliance on self-report measures, and assessment of a select sample of women victims of DV. (publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: January 28, 2021