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Fear of emotion in adolescents: the Modified Affective Control Scale for Adolescents-Revised

Koh, Delphine (2010) Fear of emotion in adolescents: the Modified Affective Control Scale for Adolescents-Revised. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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      Abstract

      Difficulties in emotion regulation, in the form of fear of emotion, have been studied in adults but have received scant attention within the adolescent population. This omission is partly due to the lack of comprehensive and cross-culturally valid emotion measures that adequately assess emotion dysregulation in adolescents. The current research looks at evaluating the psychometric properties and clinical relevance of the Modified Affective Control Scale for Adolescents-Revised (MACSA-Revised), which measures adolescents’ fear of losing control over emotions or their reactions to emotions.

      Study 1 examined the psychometric properties and construct validity of the MACSARevised in a community sample of 595 Singaporean students, aged 12 to 18 years. Exploratory factor analysis indicated that data was best explained by a 5-factor solution and reliability and validity of the MACSA-Revised was demonstrated. Although it was noted that females reported significantly higher fear of emotion than males, and upper secondary students reported significantly higher fear of emotion than lower secondary students, these differences produced only small effect sizes.

      Study 2 examined the clinical utility of the MACSA-Revised by comparing the responses of a matched sample of 40 clinical adolescent participants from a mental health clinic in Singapore and 40 community adolescent participants. Evidence of criterion-related validity of the MACSA-Revised was demonstrated. Clinical participants reported a heightened fear of emotion as compared to community participants. In addition, gender Fear of Emotion in Adolescents and year-level main effects were found in the combined clinical and community sample (N = 80).

      Although limitations of the two studies are noted, the MACSA-Revised appears to be a psychometrically sound measure for the assessment of fear of emotions in adolescents. Having an emotion measure with cross-cultural applicability that is suitable for adolescents will be helpful for future research when looking at pathways of emotion dysregulation that contribute to adolescent psychopathology.

      Keywords: Fear of emotion, adolescents, emotion regulation, emotion dysregulation, culture and emotion.

      Publication Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
      Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
      Supervisor: Dziurawiec, Suzanne and Davies, Simon
      URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4358
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