Advertisement

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 136–150 | Cite as

A Variable-Centered and Person-Centered Evaluation of Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance: Links to Emotional and Behavioral Concerns

  • Kathryn Van EckEmail author
  • Pete Warren
  • Kate Flory
Empirical Research

Abstract

Distress tolerance and emotion regulation deficits are associated with many emotional and behavioral concerns and may be important deficit areas for college students especially during the transition to college. However, little is known about how distress tolerance and emotion regulation relate to each other or what typical profiles of these deficit areas might be. We took a variable-centered (i.e., exploratory factor analysis) and a person-centered approach (i.e., latent profile analysis) to identify the overlap and distinctiveness of distress tolerance and emotion regulation deficits and then evaluated how the profiles related to several emotional and behavioral concerns. Participants were undergraduates (N = 627; age M = 20.23, SD = 1.40; 60 % female; 47 % European-American) who completed an online assessment. The exploratory factor analysis of distress tolerance and emotion regulation subscales demonstrated three factors with one factor corresponding to distress tolerance and two factors defined by emotion regulation. Subscales demonstrated significant multidimensionality across the factors. The latent profile analysis with distress tolerance and emotion regulation subscales produced three profiles corresponding to “Functional”, “At Risk”, and “Challenged” levels of distress tolerance and emotion regulation abilities. Internalizing symptoms (i.e., depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and suicidal ideation) had significantly higher symptom severity in the “At Risk”, and “Challenged” profiles than in the “Functional” profile. ADHD symptoms and hostility showed a similar pattern. Conduct problems and substance use were much less related to the deficit profiles. Implications for the etiology of mental health, for prevention and treatment of college students are discussed.

Keywords

Distress tolerance Emotion regulation Substance use Internalizing symptoms Externalizing symptoms Latent profile analyses Exploratory factor analysis College students 

Notes

Authors’ Contributions

KVE conceived of the study design, coordination, statistical analyses, interpretation, or data, drafted manuscript. PW drafted the introduction of the manuscript. KF participated in the design, supervised data collection, and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This work did not provide funding from any source; thus, the authors have no funding sources to declare.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants who provided data in the study.

References

  1. Ahmed, S. O., Bittencourt-Hewitt, A., & Sabastian, C. L. (2015). Neurocognitive bases of emotion regulation development in adolescence. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 15, 11–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Akaike, H. (1987). Factor analysis and AIC. Psychometrika, 52, 317–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aldao, A. (2013). Emotion regulation strategies as transdiagnostic processes: A closer look at the invariance of their form and function. Revista de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica, 17, 261–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aldoa, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion-regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 217–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: APA.Google Scholar
  6. Anestis, M., Selby, E., Fink, E., & Joiner, T. (2007). The multifaceted role of distress tolerance in dysregulated eating behaviors. International Journal of Eating Disorder, 40, 718–726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bardeen, J. R., Tull, M. T., Dixon-Gordon, K. L., Stevens, E. N., & Gratz, K. L. (2015). Attentional control as a moderator of the relationship between difficulties accessing effective emotion regulation strategies and distress tolerance. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 37, 79–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barkley, R. A., Knouse, L. E., & Murphy, K. R. (2011). Correspondence and disparity in the self-and other ratings of current and childhood ADHD symptoms and impairment in adults with ADHD. Psychological Assessment, 23, 437.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Barkley, R. A., & Murphy, K. R. (2006). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A clinical workbook (3rd ed.). NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  10. Bauer, D. J., & Curran, P. J. (2004). The integration of continuous and discrete latent variable models: Potential problems and promising opportunities. Psychological Methods, 9, 3–29.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Bornovalova, M., Gratz, K. L., Daughters, S., Nick, B., Delany-Brumsey, A., et al. (2008). A multimodal assessment of the relationship between emotion dysregulation and borderline personality disorder among inner-city substance users in residential treatment. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 42, 717–726.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Brown, R. A., Lejuez, C. W., Kahler, C. W., & Strong, D. R. (2002). Distress tolerance and duration of past smoking cessation attempts. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 111, 180–185.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Burt, S. A. (2009). Rethinking environmental contributions to child and adolescent psychopathology: A meta-analysis of shared environmental influences. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 608–637.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Burt, S. A., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., & Krueger, R. F. (2006). Differential parent–child relationships and adolescent externalizing symptoms: Cross-lagged analyses within a monozygotic twin differences design. Developmental Psychology, 42, 1289–1298.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Casey, B. J., Duhoux, S., & Malter Cohen, M. (2010). Adolescence: What do transmission, transition, and translation have to do with it? Neuron, 67, 749–760.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Casey, B. J., Jones, R. M., & Hare, T. A. (2008). The adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1124, 111–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chapman, A. L., Gratz, K. L., & Brown, M. Z. (2006). Solving the puzzle of deliberate self-harm: The experiential avoidance model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 371–394.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis in the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Cunningham, J. R., Bornovalova, M. A., Ojanen, T., Hunt, E., MacPherson, L., & Lejuez, C. (2013). Time doesn’t change everything: The longitudinal course of distress tolerance and its relationship with externalizing and internalizing symptoms during early adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 735–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Daughters, S. B., Sargeant, M. N., Bornovalova, M. A., Gratz, K. L., & Lejuez, C. W. (2008). The relationship between distress tolerance and antisocial personality disorder among male inner-city treatment seeking substance users. Journal of Personality Disorders, 22, 509–524.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Derogatis, L. R., & Coons, H. L. (1993). Self-report measures of stress. In S. Breznitz & L. Goldberger (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (2nd ed., pp. 200–233). New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  22. DuPaul, G. J., Weyandt, L. L., O’Dell, S. M., & Varejao, M. (2009). College students with ADHD: Current status and future directions. Journal of Attention Disorders, 13, 234–250.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Elliott, D., Huizinga, D., & Ageton, S. (1985). Explaining delinquency and drug use. CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Farrington, D. P., Loeber, R., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Van Kammen, W. B., & Schmidt, L. (1996). Self-reported delinquency and a combined delinquency seriousness scale based on boys, mothers, and teachers: Concurrent and predictive validity for African-Americans and Caucasians. Criminology, 34, 493–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fox, H. C., Axelrod, S. R., Paliwal, P., Sleeper, J., & Sinha, R. (2007). Difficulties in emotion regulation and impulse control during cocaine abstinence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 89, 298–301.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Frazier, T. W., Youngstrom, E. A., Naugle, R. I., Haggerty, K. A., & Busch, R. M. (2007). The latent structure of cognitive symptom exaggeration on the Victoria Symptom Validity Test. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22, 197–211.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Garnefski, N., Kraaij, V., & van Etten, M. (2005). Specificity of relations between adolescents’ cognitive emotion regulation strategies and internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. Journal of Adolescence, 28, 619–631.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Giedd, J. (2006). Structural magnetic resonance imaging of the adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1021, 77–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gratz, K. L., & Roemer, L. (2004). Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: Development, factor structure, and initial validation of the DERS. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavior Assessment, 26, 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gross, J. J., & Jazaieri, H. (2014). Emotion, emotion regulation, and psychopathology: An affective science perspective. Clinical Psychological Science, 2, 387–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gross, J. J., & Thompson, R. A. (2010). Emotion regulation: Conceptual foundations. In J. J. Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (pp. 135–158). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  32. Heiligenstein, E., Conyers, L. M., Berns, A. R., & Smith, M. A. (1998). Preliminary normative data on DSM-IV ADHD in college students. Journal of American College Health, 46, 185–188.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jefferies, E. R., McLeish, A. C., Kraemer, K. M., Avellone, K. M., & Fleming, J. B. (2015). The role of distress tolerance in the use of specific emotion regulation strategies. Behavior Modification, 40, 439–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. John, O. P., & Gross, J. J. (2004). Healthy and unhealthy emotion regulation: Personality processes, individual differences, and life span development. Journal of Personality, 72, 1301–1334.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Jones, P. B. (2013). Adult mental health disorders and their age at onset. British Journal of Psychiatry, 202, s5–s10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., et al. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593–602.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Kline, R. B. (2010). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  39. Laursen, B. P., & Hoff, E. (2006). Person-centered and variable-centered approaches to longitudinal data. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 52, 377–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Leyro, T. M., Zvolensky, M. J., & Bernstein, A. (2010). Distress tolerance and psychopathological symptoms and disorders: A review of the empirical literature. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 576–600.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Leyro, T. M., Zvolensky, M. J., Vujanovic, A. A., & Bernstein, A. (2008). Anxiety sensitivity and smoking motives and outcome expectancies among adult daily smokers: Replication and extension. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 10, 985–994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lo, Y., Mendell, N., & Rubin, D. (2001). Testing the number of components in a normal mixture. Biometrika, 88, 767–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Luna, B., & Sweeney, J. A. (2004). The emergence of collaborative brain function: fMRI studies of the development of response inhibition. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1021, 296–309.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. MacCallum, R. C., Browne, M. W., & Sugawara, H. M. (1996). Power analysis and determination of sample size for covariance structure modeling. Psychological Methods, 1, 130–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. MacCallum, R. C., Zhang, S., Preacher, K. J., & Rucker, D. D. (2002). On the practice of dichotomization of quantitative variables. Psychological Methods, 7, 19–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Maedgen, J., & Carlson, C. (2000). Social functioning and emotional regulation in the ADHD subtypes. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29, 30–42.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Marcus, D. K., & Barry, T. D. (2011). Does ADHD have a dimensional latent structure? A taxometric analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120, 427.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. Martel, M. M., & Nigg, J. T. (2006). Child ADHD and personality/temperament traits of reactive and effortful control, resiliency, and emotionality. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 1175–1183.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. McCambridge, J., McAlney, J., & Rowe, R. (2011). Adult consequences of late adolescent alcohol consumption: A systematic review of cohort studies. PLoS Med, 8, e1000413.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. McHugh, R. K., Reynolds, E. K., Leyro, T. M., & Otto, M. W. (2013). An examination of the association of distress intolerance and emotion regulation with avoidance. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 37, 363–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McLachlan, G., & Peel, D. (2000). Finite mixture models. New York, NY: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McRae, K., Gross, J. J., Weber, J., Robertson, E. R., Sokol-Hessner, P., Ray, R. D., et al. (2012). The development of emotion regulation: An fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal in children, adolescents and young adults. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 11–22.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. Molina, B. S., & Pelham, W. E. (2014). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and risk of substance use disorder: Developmental considerations, potential pathways, and opportunities for research. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 10, 607.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  54. Muthén, L., & Muthén, B. (1998–2015). Mplus user’s guide. Version 7. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  55. Nylund, K. L., Asparouhov, T., & Muthén, B. O. (2007). Deciding on the number of classes in latent class analysis and growth mixture modeling: A Monte Carlo simulation study. Structure Equation Modeling, 14, 535–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pardini, D., Obradović, J., & Loeber, R. (2006). Interpersonal callousness, hyperactivity/impulsivity, inattention, and conduct problems as precursors to delinquency persistence in boys: A comparison of three grade-based cohorts. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 35, 46–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Powers, A., & Casey, B. J. (2015). The adolescent brain and the emergence and peak of psychopathology. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescence Psychotherapy, 14, 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Safren, S. A., Otto, M. W., Sprich, S., Winett, C. L., Wilens, T. E., & Biederman, J. (2005). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for ADHD in medication-treated adults with continued symptoms. Behavior Research Therapy, 43, 831–842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schafer, J. L., & Graham, J. W. (2007). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods, 7, 147–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schmidt, N. B., Zvolensky, M. J., & Maner, J. K. (2006). Anxiety sensitivity: Prospective prediction of panic attacks and Axis I pathology. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 40, 691–699.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Schwannauer, M., & Chetwynd, P. (2007). The brief symptom inventory: A validity study in two independent Scottish samples. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 14, 221–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schwarz, G. E. (1978). Estimating the dimension of a model. Annals of Statistics, 6, 461–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Silk, J. S., Steinberg, L., & Morris, A. S. (2003). Adolescents’ emotion regulation in daily life: Links to depressive symptoms and problem behavior. Child Development, 74, 1869–1880.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Simons, J. S., & Gaher, R. M. (2005). The distress tolerance scale: Development and validation of a self-report measure. Motivation and Emotion, 29, 83–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Steinberg, L. (2008). A social neuroscience perspective on adolescent risk-taking. Developmental Review, 28, 78–106.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  66. Tackett, J. L., Waldman, I. D., Van Hulle, C. A., & Lahey, B. B. (2011). Shared genetic influences on negative emotionality and major depression/conduct disorder comorbidity. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50, 818–827.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  67. Thompson, R. J., Kuppens, P., Mata, J., et al. (2015). Emotional clarity as a function of neuroticism and major depressive disorder. Emotion, 15, 615–624.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  68. Urbán, R., Kun, B., Farkas, J., Paksi, B., Kökönyei, G., Unoka, Z., et al. (2014). Bi-factor structural model of symptom checklists: SCL-90-R and brief symptom inventory (BSI) in a non-clinical community sample. Psychiatry Research, 216, 146–154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Walcott, C., & Landau, S. (2004). The relationship between disinhibition and emotion regulation in boys with ADHD. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 33, 772–782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Williams, A. D., Thompson, J., & Andrews, G. (2013). The impact of psychological distress tolerance in the treatment of depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51, 469–475.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Wills, T. A., Sandy, J. M., Yaeger, A. M., Cleary, S. D., & Shinar, O. (2001). Coping dimensions, life stress, and adolescent substance use: A latent growth analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 110, 309–323.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Wolitzky-Taylor, K., Guillot, C. R., Pang, R. D., Kirkpatrick, M. G., Zvolensky, M. J., Buckner, J. D., et al. (2015). Examination of anxiety sensitivity and distress tolerance as transdiagnostic mechanisms linking multiple anxiety pathologies to alcohol use problems in adolescents. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 39, 532–539.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  73. Young, S. E., Friedman, N. P., Miyake, A., Willcutt, E. G., Corley, R. P., Haberstick, B. C., et al. (2009). Behavioral disinhibition: Liability for externalizing spectrum disorders and its genetic and environmental relation to response inhibition across adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 117–130.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  74. Yu, C. Y., & Muthén, B. (2002). Evaluation of model fit indices for latent variable models with categorical and continuous outcomes (Technical Report). LA: University of California at LA, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.Google Scholar
  75. Zelazo, P. D., & Cunningham, W. A. (2007). Attitudes and evaluations: A social cognitive neuroscience perspective. Trends in Cognitive Science, 11, 97–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Zvolensky, M. J., Marshall, E. C., Johnson, K., et al. (2009). Relations between anxiety sensitivity, distress tolerance, and fear reactivity to bodily sensations to coping and conformity marijuana use motives among young adult marijuana users. Experimental Clinical Psychopharmacology, 17, 31–42.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  77. Zvolensky, M., Vujanovic, A. A., Bernstein, A., & Leyro, T. (2010). Distress tolerance: Theory, measurement, and relations to psychopathology. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 406–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Division of PediatricsJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.William Jennings Bryan Dorn Department of Veterans Affairs Medical CenterMental Health Service LineColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations