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Title page for ETD etd-05102018-125746

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Bettis, Alexandra Hall
Author's Email Address alex.bettis@gmail.com
URN etd-05102018-125746
Title Secondary Control Coping in Youth: Testing A Novel Experimental Paradigm
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bruce Compas Committee Chair
David Cole Committee Member
Judy Garber Committee Member
Mark Wallace Committee Member
Sarah Jaser Committee Member
  • child and adolescent
  • neuroimaging
  • emotion regulation
  • Coping
Date of Defense 2017-06-27
Availability unrestricted
Coping and emotion regulation is a central feature of risk and resilience in childhood and adolescence. More specifically, secondary control coping strategies, including acceptance, distraction, and cognitive reappraisal, have been linked to lower levels of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology in youth across development. These processes have been predominantly assessed by questionnaire methods, primarily self-report and to a lesser degree parent-report of youths coping. The current study aimed to address gaps in the field of the measurement of coping and emotion regulation in youth by testing a novel experimental coping and emotion regulation paradigm in a community sample of youth (N = 56; ages 9-15). The laboratory paradigm assessed the use of distraction and reappraisal in response to images of parental distress (i.e., family stress). The current study used both questionnaire and laboratory measures of secondary control coping (performance on the laboratory task), and examined associations among stress, coping, brain activation and negative emotion during the laboratory task, and internalizing symptoms. Findings indicate that use of distraction and reappraisal during the laboratory paradigm was associated with lower levels of negative emotion during the paradigm. Findings also indicate that youth use of distraction in the laboratory task, but not reappraisal, was associated with self-report measures of secondary control coping in response to family stress. Youth prefrontal brain activation did not differ as a function of condition in the laboratory task, and internalizing symptoms were not associated with laboratory measures of secondary control coping. Future research utilizing both questionnaire and laboratory methods to assess coping and emotion regulation in youth will be important for understanding these processes as possible mechanisms of risk and resilience.
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