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Effectiveness evaluation of traditional and third wave Emotion Regulation strategies in clinical and non-clinical youth population

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PEACEFUL MIND (Effectiveness evaluation of traditional and third wave Emotion Regulation strategies in clinical and non-clinical youth population)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2018-03-31

Mental-health problems in youth is an expanding and global concern, with the period around adolescence as a particularly critical phase during which many psychopathologies may manifest for the first time. Indeed, adolescence corresponds to a particularly vulnerable period of life for psychopathology development. However, it can also be considered as a critical developmental window to provide prevention and/or interventions tools. Since psychopathologies with emotion regulation deficits characterize more than 75% of diagnostic categories, and can be consider as a transdiagnostic mechanism, targeting emotion regulation processes in youths is both timely and relevant. The objective of the Peaceful Mind project was twofold (1) to compare the effectiveness of both traditional emotion regulation strategies such as cognitive reappraisal with third wave emotion regulation strategies such as mindfulness and self-compassion in youth population, (2) provide extensive clinical and methodological training for the research fellow. The data are currently analyzed and prepared for publications.
First we conducted a review of all available literature on the topic of traditional and third wave emotion regulations. Second we performed a meta-analysis on the association between self-compassion and psychopathology from both disorder-specific perspective, and transdiagnostic perspective. Third, we conducted a study with 180 youth with the aim to compare experimentally different emotion regulation strategies within the sadness context. Fourth, we conducted a study with 180 youth with the aim to compare experimentally implicit and explicit components of an emotion regulation strategy within the failure context. Fifth, we prepared various workshops related to emotion regulations and third wave interventions for different audiences: parents, teachers, clinicians, policy makers, youth. Sixth, we disseminated knowledge related to the project through a 3-week Summer School organized by the research fellow at University of Amsterdam. Seventh, the research fellow received an extensive clinical training in third wave clinical protocols. Eighth, we established a productive collaboration between the research fellow, and University of Amsterdam (e.g. co-advising research Master students, co-teaching, preparing new edition of the summer school).
First, our meta-analysis shows that self-compassion has a strong negative association with psychopathology, and that this relationship depends on both transdiagnostic factors (such as self-criticism, guilt, and shame) as well as disorder specific factors (specific categories of psychopathologies). This, can have a potential impact on future transdiagnostic interventions for youth. Second, our experimental studies promises to reveal which emotion regulation strategy is most effective for youth, and whether explicit or implicit way of applying emotion regulation strategy is more effective (the data are still being processed).

Despite a critical aspect of emotion regulation capacities during the lifespan, very few schools explicitly offers socio-emotional learning in their curriculum. The schools may usually focus on teaching children languages, science, or physical education but may forget that in order to learn children need to be in a peaceful state of mind. Although this project promise to show the benefits of third wave emotion regulation strategies such as mindfulness and self-compassion, we also hope to see in the European curriculum a space for teaching and learning about all possible emotion regulation strategies. Emotion regulations in school should not be seen only through a “mindfulness buzz” that is currently happening around the world, but as a long term commitment in order to allow children to discover their own toolbox full of resources and to help them use it in a flexible way whenever they need it. In this way we allow them to experience the world that is waiting for them, and flourish in their perfectly unique way.
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