Coping with stressful life events: Cognitive emotion regulation profiles and depressive symptoms in adolescents

Emotieregulatie bij stressvolle jongeren

Cognitive strategies that adolescents use to cope with negative emotions might show distinct profiles of cognitive emotion regulation strategies, which could be differentially associated with depressive symptoms. In total, 411 Dutch adolescents who had experienced at least one stressful life event that required some coping strategy participated in this study, including 334 nonclinical and 77 clinically depressed adolescents (12–21 years). A person-centered approach with Latent Profile Analysis was used to identify underlying profiles of cognitive emotion regulation based on the adolescents’ reports of their use of cognitive emotion regulation strategies when they were confronted with stressful life events. Nine different strategies, five adaptive and four maladaptive, were used as indicators. Four profiles with distinct features were found in the nonclinical sample, as well as in the combined sample of nonclinical and clinically depressed adolescents: Low Regulators, High Regulators, Maladaptive Regulators, and Adaptive Regulators. In both samples, the High Regulators profile was most commonly used, followed by the Adaptive, Maladaptive, and Low Regulators profile. Maladaptive Regulators endorsed higher levels of depressive symptoms relative to Low, High, and Adaptive Regulators. The findings underscore the utility of using a person-centered approach in order to identify patterns of cognitive emotion regulation deficits in psychopathology.