In the 2011-2012 academic year, we have begun the second annual wave of a SSHRC-funded longitudinal study of 187 male and female adolescents' emotional processes. Using psychophysiological, observational, experimental, and self-report measures, this study examines the development of adolescent emotion regulation in response to social stressors. Our research questions include:
This SSHRC-funded collaboration with Dr. Wendy Craig examines how the experience of and proneness to shame can mediate the onset and maintenance of peer victimization. This three-year project (2011-2013) combines large-scale community sampling over three longitudinal waves with examinations of the real-time processes of shame and rejection in a subsample at wave 2. We recently tested this hypothesis in a large cross-sectional sample using the peer rejection game Cyberball and found that both trait and state shame predicted peer victimization above and beyond rejection sensitivity, gender, and age (Craig, Hollenstein, Rinne, & Lanteigne, in preparation).
This five year NSERC project is designed to further explore emotional discordance. The primary objective is to better understand emotion and ER through the examination of discordance. Through the manipulation of social and non-social emotion induction techniques within innovative multi-method designs, we will examine synchronized profiles of emotional reactivity and recovery across the physiological, experiential, and behavioural domains. The short-term objectives are to conduct studies to understand the nature of discordance and develop a theoretical model of the emotion system. These projects are designed to answer several questions: What are associations between discordance and specific ER strategies, moderated by gender? How do variations in the social context influence discordance? Does within-individual discordance change as a function of discrete emotional states? How stable are measures of discordance? Does discordance increase from childhood through adulthood?
Following years of work examining the affective dynamics of dyadic interactions (e.g., Hollenstein, Granic, Snyder, & Stoolmiller, 2004; Hollenstein & Lewis, 2006; Hollenstein, 2007; Lunkenheimer, Olsen, Hollenstein, Sameroff, & Winter, 2011), I have developed a model of flexibility at three time scales (Hollenstein, Lichtwarck-Aschoff, & Potworowski, in preparation). This line of research continues with international collaborations with colleagues Isabel Granic, Erika Lunkenheimer, Tom Dishion, and Jennifer Silk, among others, using state space grids to measure affective dynamics.
In the ADL, we examine the dynamic integration of psychophysiology (heart rate, skin conductance), with self-reported and observationally coded affective behaviour using variations of a spontaneous speech paradigm. In these designs, we record the psychophysiological measures across several tasks (paced breathing, baseline, speech, and recovery) to capture the increase in arousal due to the speech and rate of decrease during the recovery period. Participants are not informed of the speech beforehand and must construct the speech on the spot – thus eliciting mild social anxiety and possibly shame. The video of the speech is coded later using the Self-Conscious Affect Code.
State space grids were developed by Marc Lewis and colleagues to depict trajectories of behaviour along two ordinal dimensions. In 2004, we released the first version of GridWare – a Java program that is available for free download at www.statespacegrids.org. This program allows users to display, manipulate, and derive measures from any synchronized categorical time series (see example below). We are currently in the process of adapting this technique for use with both psychophysiological (e.g., heart rate) and categorical (e.g., emotional states) time series. A new state space grid program is in the works.
The Three Body Problem. As has been known in physics for centuries, the dynamics of two are much easier to model than the dynamics of three. In order to extend the state space analysis beyond dyadic interactions, a previous graduate student, Lindsay Lavictoire, is currently preparing her master's thesis for publication (Lavictoire, Hollenstein, Stoolmiller, & Snyder, in preparation). The temporal dynamics of three kindergarten peers were shown to be associated with sociometric status as well as internalizing and externalizing problems.
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There are no new emotions that emerge during adolescence. Therefore, the emotion-related changes of this developmental period must be due to how emotions are aroused and how they are regulated. Using online questionnaires in concert with the above mentioned studies, we have data from hundreds of adolescents on emotions and moods, emotion regulation, coping, and interpersonal relationships. These data have been and are currently being analyzed by students to examine individual differences related to age, gender, or psychopathological outcomes (e.g., depressive symptoms). These projects include:
Shame and Self-Conscious Affect during a Socially Stressful Situation: The first test of the Self Conscious Affect Code. Found relations between behaviour elicited by social stress and shame. (SCAC Manual: Hollenstein & Glozman, unpublished manual)
Gender Differences in Emotional Suppression, Acceptance and Relations to Depressive Symptoms: Emotional suppression is associated with depressive symptoms. However, a conundrum emerges when considering gender differences: males suppress more than females but females have greater depressive symptoms. This study revealed that emotional acceptance can explain this conundrum. (Flynn, Hollenstein, & Mackey, 2010).
The Adolescent Transition Questionnaire: This self- and parent-report questionnaire was developed in order to detect when adolescents may be experiencing a period of rapid change. By detecting the age period of change for each individual, which can occur anywhere between the ages of 11 and 16, we hope to be able to identify critical windows of vulnerability and opportunity in an adolescent’s life.