Emotional Functioning in Children and Adolescents with Elevated Depressive Symptoms

  • Elizabeth Kate HughesEmail author
  • Eleonora Gullone
  • Shaun D. Watson


Difficulties with emotion and its regulation are of central importance to the etiology and course of depression. The current study investigated these constructs in relation to childhood and adolescence by comparing the emotional functioning of 170 9- to 15-year-olds reporting high levels of depressive symptoms (HD) to a matched sample of 170 children and adolescents reporting low levels of depressive symptoms (LD). Compared to LD, HD participants reported significantly greater shame proneness, poorer functioning on emotion regulation competencies (emotional control, self-awareness and situational responsiveness), less healthy emotion regulation strategy use (less reappraisal and greater suppression), and lower levels of guilt proneness. Empathic concern did not differ between the two groups. The findings enhance current knowledge by providing a more comprehensive profile of the emotional difficulties experienced by children and adolescents with elevated depressive symptoms.


Depression Self-conscious emotions Emotion regulation Children Adolescents 



This research was financially supported by grants from the Australian Research Council [DP0343902, DP0771180]. The ARC had no involvement in the conduct of the research or preparation of the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Kate Hughes
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Eleonora Gullone
    • 1
  • Shaun D. Watson
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Psychology and PsychiatryMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Adolescent HealthThe Royal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.School of Behavioural and Social Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of BallaratBallaratAustralia

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