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The Differential Roles of Positive Emotions and Emotion Regulation for Socio-Emotional Processes in Developmental Disabilities: Insights for Future Interventions

English title The Differential Roles of Positive Emotions and Emotion Regulation for Socio-Emotional Processes in Developmental Disabilities: Insights for Future Interventions
Applicant Samson Andrea
Number 176722
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Heilpädagogisches Institut Universität Freiburg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022
Approved amount 1'589'748.00
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Keywords (10)

intellectual disability; developmental disabilities; Autism; intervention; virtual reality; Williams syndrome; emotion; socio-emotional processes; problem behavior; perspective taking

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Sozio-emotionale Prozesse und ihre Beziehung zu sozialen und nicht-sozialen Ängsten bei Entwicklungsstörungen und geistigen Behinderungen
Lay summary

Angststörungen sind eine der Hauptprobleme bei Entwicklungs- und geistigen Behinderungen. Da Ängste soziale und adaptive Funktionen erheblich beeinträchtigen, ist es dringend notwendig, potenzielle Risiko- und Schutzfaktoren besser zu verstehen. In Anbetracht der entscheidenden Rolle der sozialen Annäherung, der positiven Emotionen und der Emotionsregulation für optimale soziale und adaptive Funktionen, ist das Ziel dieses Projekts, diese drei Phänomene bei Menschen mit Entwicklungsstörungen, wie dem Williams-Beuren Syndrom (WS) und Autismus-Spektrum-Störungen (ASS), zu untersuchen. In gewisser Hinsicht haben WS und ASS entgegengesetzte Profile in der Prävalenz von Ängsten (relativ hohe nicht-soziale Angst bei WS vs. relativ hohe soziale Angst bei ASS). Zudem sind die soziale Annäherung und positive Emotionen bei Personen mit WS erhöht, wohingegen sie bei Personen mit ASS vermindert sind. Während Personen mit ASS Schwierigkeiten mit der Regulation von Emotionen haben, ist dies bei Personen mit WS noch wenig erforscht. Die beinahe gegensätzlichen Profile machen WS und ASS zu einem vielversprechenden Modell, um sozio-emotionale Phänomene als potentielle Risiko- und Schutzfaktoren für soziale und nicht-soziale Ängste zu untersuchen. Mit einem multi-methodischen Ansatz (einschliesslich der virtuellen Realität) möchte dieses Projekts untersuchen, wie diese drei sozio-emotionalen Phänomene miteinander in Beziehung stehen und wie sie mit sozialen und nicht-sozialen Ängsten bei Personen mit WS und ASS, im Vergleich zu einer Gruppe mit unspezifischer geistiger Behinderung, zusammenhängen. Die aus diesem Projekt gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden letztlich dazu dienen, Interventionen für affektive Störungen bei Entwicklungsstörungen zu entwickeln.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.04.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Socio-emotional processes and their relation to social and non-social anxiety in developmental and intellectual disabilities
Lay summary

Anxiety disorders are one of the major concerns in developmental and intellectual disabilities. Since anxieties significantly impact social and adaptive functioning, it is of great urgency to better understand potential risk and protective factors. Given the crucial role of social approach, positive emotions and emotion regulation for optimal social and adaptive functioning, the goal of this project is to study these three phenomena in individuals with developmental disabilities with a particular focus on Williams syndrome (WS) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In certain respects, WS and ASD have opposite profiles in the prevalence of anxieties (relatively high non-social anxiety in WS vs. relatively high social anxiety in ASD), as well as in social approach and positive emotions. Whereas social approach and positive emotions are high in WS, they are generally low in ASD. Moreover, while individuals with ASD have difficulties regulating emotions, little is known about emotion regulation in WS. Taking into account these opposite patterns, WS and ASD make a promising model for the study of socio-emotional phenomena as potential risk and protective factors for social and non-social anxiety. With a multi-method approach (including virtual reality), the goal of this project is to examine how these three socio-emotional phenomena relate to each other and how they are linked to social and non-social anxiety in WS and ASD, compared to a group with non-specific intellectual disability. The insights derived from this project will ultimately serve to inform interventions targeting affective disorders in developmental disabilities.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.04.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
154937 Emotion Dysregulation in Psychopathology: Pathway to an Innovative Neuroconnectivity-Informed Intervention 01.09.2015 Ambizione

Abstract

Social and non-social anxiety disorders are one of the major concerns of individuals with developmental disabilities with and without intellectual disability. Since anxieties significantly impact social and adaptive functioning, it is of great urgency to better understand potential risk and protective factors. Given the crucial role of social approach, positive emotions (PE) and emotion regulation (ER) for optimal social and adaptive functioning, the goal of this project is to study these three phenomena in individuals with developmental disabilities with a particular focus on Williams syndrome (WS) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Interestingly, WS and ASD present, in certain respects, a double dissociation regarding the prevalence of anxieties (relatively high non-social anxiety in WS vs. relatively high social anxiety in ASD), as well as in affective biases related to social approach and PE in social settings. Whereas social approach, i.e. to orient to the social world and to seek and take pleasure in social interactions, is high and linked to PE in WS, social approach and PE are generally low in ASD. Moreover, while individuals with ASD have ER difficulties, which are linked to anxieties, little is known about ER in WS. Taking into account these opposite patterns, WS and ASD make a promising model for the study of socio-emotional phenomena as potential risk and protective factors for social and non-social anxiety. Therefore, the goal of this project is to examine how these three socio-emotional phenomena relate to each other and how they are linked to social and non-social anxiety in WS and ASD. First, I aim to describe profiles of effective PE triggers and ER strategy use and efficacy in WS and mental age-matched ASD, compared to mental age-matched typically developing participants with high and low social approach. In order to discern syndrome-specific effects from intellectual disability, I will also include a group with non-specific intellectual disability. Second, I aim to link these different profiles in social approach, PE, and ER to social and non-social anxiety. I will use a multi-method approach including self- and parent-report, experiential, behavioral, and psychophysiological parameters, and will build on novel technologies, such as virtual reality, to create immersive environments and quantify behavior. These techniques will yield a robust and complementary database of PE and ER profiles across different modalities and emotional domains. Using statistical methods, I will use the collected data to first describe the profiles of social approach, PE, and ER in the different groups. Subsequently, I will model PE and ER’s relation to both social and non-social anxiety, including social approach as a potential moderating variable, in order to determine risk and protective factors. The insights derived from this project will ultimately serve to inform interventions targeting affective disorders in developmental disabilities.
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