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Emotion functioning in a young offender sample

Bowen, Katharine Louise 2012. Emotion functioning in a young offender sample. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

This thesis examined the role of emotion functioning in adolescent antisocial behaviour, and considered whether more serious forms of antisocial behaviour (ASB) coincided with serious emotion dysfunctions. Emotional functioning in a community sample of 90 young offenders was assessed in three ways. First of all by examining facial affect recognition, secondly by assessing emotion regulation during an economic decision-making task, and thirdly by looking at trust judgments towards emotional faces. An additional aspect of the thesis was to establish whether an emotion intervention task could improve offenders’ recognition of negative emotions. It was expected that antisocial teenagers would demonstrate poor recognition of negative emotional states, poor emotion regulation ability and diminished trust of others compared with age, IQ, socio-economic status, and sex-matched controls. It was also expected that severity of ASB would adversely affect performance on these emotion tasks. It was also expected that a targeted emotion intervention could be a useful tool in improving recognition of negative emotional states. We found that young offenders differed from matched controls in terms of emotion recognition, trust and emotion regulation. However, an unexpected finding was that offenders were better, not worse than controls at regulating their emotions. As predicted, it was found that seriousness of ASB did influence emotion performance on these tasks: the level of conduct disorder explained emotion dysregulation, whereas offence severity seemed to explain, at least in part, performance on all emotion tasks. The targeted emotion intervention also improved recognition of negative emotions. Taken together, the results suggest that young offenders show specific, rather than general problems in several domains of emotion functioning. Moreover, the finding that 4 more severe ASB seems to explain variation in emotion functioning problems highlights the need to take a dimensional approach when examining ASB. The future directions of this research and implications for policy and practitioners working with young offenders were discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:13
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/43325

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