Reappraisal is an effective emotion regulation strategy in children with Tourette syndrome and ADHD


Background and objectives: Difficulties in emotion regulation (ER) have been associated with several psychiatricdisorders, emphasizing a need for a greater understanding of the concept and its associations with disruptivebehavior. We aimed to study the ER strategy of cognitive reappraisal with an experimental test to increase ourknowledge of emotional processes in child psychopathology.
Methods: In the present study, we examined emotional reactivity and cognitive reappraisal with a computer taskin 160 medication-naïve children aged 8–12 comprising four groups: Fifty-eight children with Tourette syn-drome (TS), 26 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 19 children with TS and ADHD,and 57 typically developing controls.
Results: The use of cognitive reappraisal reduced negative affect across all participants and the ability to re-appraise was positively correlated with age, whereas reactivity was not. Overall, groups did not differ in re-activity or regulation success. Looking at specificdifferences within groups, however, only the ADHD group didnot significantly decrease negative affect when reappraising. Finally, the use of strategies considered to beefficacious was correlated with regulation success, whereas the use of a less adaptive strategy related to sup-pression was associated with reactivity, but not regulation of emotions.
Limitations: The study was limited by small, clinical contrast groups and a lack of blinding to diagnostic status inthe coding of verbal strategies employed during the task.
Conclusions: Cognitive reappraisal appears to be a beneficial ER strategy for children regardless of diagnosticstatus. Ourfindings indicate that children can learn and employ an adaptive ER strategy when instructed in thetechnique, even in the presence of attention problems, which is highly relevant to therapeutic approaches todysregulated behavior.
TidsskriftJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2020