Heterogeneity in emotion regulation difficulties among women victims of domestic violence: A latent profile analysis

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Background: Research over the past two decades supports emotion regulation as a transdiagnostic factor related to the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of a wide range of psychiatric difficulties and risky behaviors. However, prior investigations are limited by their focus on difficulties regulating negative (but not positive) emotions. Further, research has not accounted for the heterogeneity in difficulties regulating emotions. Methods: Participants were 210 female victims of domestic violence (DV; M age = 36.14, 48.6% African American) who completed measures assessing emotion regulation (Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale; Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale – Positive), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale), alcohol misuse (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test) and drug misuse (Drug Abuse Screening Test). Latent profile analysis was utilized to identify subgroups of DV-victimized women who were similar in endorsed difficulties in regulating negative and positive emotions. Differences in psychiatric difficulties (i.e., PTSD and depressive symptom severity) and risky behaviors (i.e., alcohol and drug misuse) were examined across these classes. Results: Three classes of DV-victimized women differentiated by levels of difficulties regulating negative and positive emotions were identified. Greater psychiatric difficulties were found among classes defined by higher levels of difficulties regulating emotions, regardless of emotion valence. Risky behaviors were more prevalent among the class defined by higher levels of difficulties regulating both negative and positive emotions. Limitations: Although results add to the literature on difficulties regulating emotions and their correlates, findings must be interpreted in light of limitations present including use of a cross-sectional and correlation design, reliance on self-report measures, and assessment of a select sample of women victims of DV. Conclusions: Results highlight the potential importance of tailoring interventions accounting for the heterogeneity in negative and positive emotion regulation dimensions among DV-victimized women.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Affective Disorders