State and Trait Emotions in Delinquent Adolescents

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States
Child Psychiatry and Human Development (Impact Factor: 1.93). 09/2007; 38(2):155-69. DOI: 10.1007/s10578-007-0050-0
Source: PubMed


To examine the structure of emotions and affective dysregulation in juvenile delinquents.
Fifty-six juvenile delinquents from a local juvenile hall and 169 subjects from a local high school were recruited for this study. All participants completed psychometric testing for trait emotions followed by measurements of state emotions under two conditions (free association and stress condition). Finally, delinquent participants completed a detailed assessment of past trauma using the Childhood Trauma Interview (CTI).
Delinquents exhibit significantly higher levels of negative state and trait emotions when compared to a high school sample. In the delinquent sample chronicity of physical trauma affects the longstanding variable of trait emotionality and severity of trauma, specifically emotional abuse and witnessing violence, shapes negative emotional outcomes in state emotionality. In addition, delinquents appear to experience a wider range of emotions than the comparison sample and were more likely to experience a confluence of state emotions of sadness and anger under stressed conditions.
Adolescent delinquents appear to have a different experience of negative emotions than comparison adolescents. The experience of emotions appears to differ in state and trait conditions. These emotions may be related to childhood experiences of trauma.

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    • "h abuse and neglect were significantly more likely than controls to be arrested for delinquent property crimes (Widom & Ames, 1994). The effects of emotional abuse on children and adolescents are understudied (Yates & Wekerle, 2009) and few researchers have looked directly at how emotional abuse affects types of subsequent delinquent crime.Plattner et al. (2007)found that high levels of emotional abuse resulted in increased rates of negative emotions, especially anger. Yet, another group of researchers found the opposite (Famularo, Kinscherff, Fenton, & Bolduc, 1990). It seems plausible that negative emotions could lead to an increase in delinquent offending andAgnew's (1992Agnew'"
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    ABSTRACT: Past researchers have often reported that childhood and adolescent maltreatment increases the likelihood of, or is related to, juvenile criminality. However, research examining how specific types of maltreatment (physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect) relate to later delinquent offense (violent crime, nonviolent crime, status offending, property offending) is minimal. The aim of this study was to augment and expand upon this scant literature. One hundred and sixty one male juvenile delinquents held in six residential treatment facilities in a Midwestern state, were the subjects of this study. Each participant filled out the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and the Self-Reported Delinquency measure (SRD) in addition to demographic information. We found that physical neglect is the most significant predictor of violent crime, nonviolent crime, property offending, and status offending. Implications are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma
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    • "Regarding externalizing problems, results of studies that have included indices of positive emotions are mixed: no differences in the display of happiness between aggressive and non-aggressive youth (Orobio de Castro et al. 2005), lower state but not trait happiness in delinquent youth than a comparison group (Plattner et al. 2007), and higher happiness in response to antisocial acts in adolescent males with conduct disorder have all been reported (Cimbora and McIntosh 2003). We hypothesize that, in addition to high levels of negative emotions, low levels of positive emotions are related to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and aggressive behavior. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the role of the level and variability of happiness, anger, anxiety, and sadness in the development of adolescent-reported anxiety disorder symptoms, depressive symptoms, and aggressive behavior in 452 adolescents (250 male) followed from age 13 to 14. Level and between-day variability of emotions were assessed through adolescent report at 3-month intervals across a 1 year period. Level and variability of the four emotions contributed to changes in anxiety disorder and depressive symptoms more consistently than to changes in aggressive behavior. All four emotions were predictive of changes in internalizing problems, while anger played the most prominent role in the development of aggressive behavior. Variability of emotions contributed to changes in anxiety disorder symptoms, while heightened levels of negative emotions and diminished happiness contributed to changes in depression. Results suggested somewhat stronger effects of negative affect on aggressive behavior for females than for males. Results underscore the role of emotion dysregulation in the development of psychopathology.
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    • "Damage to the basic threat circuits in the relevant frontal lobe regions has been shown to increase the risk of RADI aggression in children [53] and adults [54]. In a recent study of conduct disordered youth with an extensive history of trauma, our research group found that these youth often conflated the experiences of sadness, fear and anger [55]. This lack of ability to differentiate these emotional states goes to the heart of the functionality threat response system and may explain why these youth express higher levels of RADI aggression when functioning under moderate levels of duress. "
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the implications of an ontology of aggressive behavior which divides aggression into reactive, affective, defensive, impulsive (RADI) or "emotionally hot"; and planned, instrumental, predatory (PIP) or "emotionally cold." Recent epidemiological, criminological, clinical and neuroscience studies converge to support a connection between emotional and trauma related psychopathology and disturbances in the emotions, self-regulation and aggressive behavior which has important implications for diagnosis and treatment, especially for delinquent populations. Selective review of preclinical and clinical studies in normal, clinical and delinquent populations. In delinquent populations we observe an increase in psychopathology, and especially trauma related psychopathology which impacts emotions and self-regulation in a manner that hotly emotionally charged acts of aggression become more likely. The identification of these disturbances can be supported by findings in cognitive neuroscience. These hot aggressive acts can be delineated from planned or emotionally cold aggression. Our findings support a typology of diagnostic labels for disruptive behaviors, such as conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, as it appears that these acts of hot emotional aggression are a legitimate target for psychopharmacological and other trauma specific interventions. The identification of this subtype of disruptive behavior disorders leads to more specific clinical interventions which in turn promise to improve hitherto unimpressive treatment outcomes of delinquents and patients with disruptive behavior.
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