Research Topic

Emotional Dysregulation in Children and Adolescents

About this Research Topic

Emotional Dysregulation (ED) is defined as the inability to regulate and organize emotions to produce an appropriate emotional response and subsequent return to baseline. ED represents a major health risk present in about 5% of children and adolescents and is associated with diverse forms of childhood ...

Emotional Dysregulation (ED) is defined as the inability to regulate and organize emotions to produce an appropriate emotional response and subsequent return to baseline. ED represents a major health risk present in about 5% of children and adolescents and is associated with diverse forms of childhood psychiatric disorders and symptoms like ADHD, oppositional defiant- and conduct disorders (ODD and CD respectively), personality disorders, self-injurious behavior and suicidality. In clinical settings, emotional dysregulation problems are especially prominent, occurring in 26.0% to 30.5% of children admitted to child and adolescent psychiatric clinics or mental health facilities. The occurrence of typical phenomena associated with ED, like severe tantrums, low frustration tolerance, aggression, negative mood and suicidality is even higher than the full syndrome of ED, with estimates of about 45% in 6-18 years old psychiatric patients.

Several frameworks from disparate theoretical and applied disciplines have been put forward but overlap and distinctions have not been clearly delineated which may slow progress going forward. This, however, is an urgent issue to address since ED has recently been discussed as being at the core of a great deal of mental health problems in children and adolescents. Therefore the goal of this Research Topic is to help establish those three missing central frameworks by examining aspects of emotion dysregulation in children and adolescents, which will be the overall main focus of our collection.

In terms of Pathogenesis, the consensus from the existing literature has established that the experience of trauma, especially in the form of sexual abuse and physical abuse, but also through emotional neglect in childhood or adolescence, often leads to severe emotion dysregulation. It can be assumed that a longer-term experience of sexual abuse and physical or psychological abuse during the unfinished development of regulatory and coping mechanisms leads to restrictions of adequate effect control and behavioral control. Therefore, in this Research Topic, we aim to attract studies exploring the pathogenic connection between child abuse and emotional dysregulation. Furthermore, articles focusing on pathogenetic aspects of ED by addressing neurobiological underpinnings will also be welcomed, especially those addressing the impact of developmental stress on brain structures. To help accelerate progress related to the extension of the diagnostic framework for ED, we suggest that the new DSMV framework should be at the heart of articles on studies describing recent diagnostic tools and classification approaches. Finally, to help further establish the therapeutic framework our final aim is to attract studies using interventions and therapies that should a) give an overview on established therapeutic tools such as DBT and the younger ‘derivatives’ including recent RCT’s and b) describe novel interventions developed from the recent ED-Framework, targeting the stress- and trauma related components of ED.

This Research Topic welcomes evidence-based research studies, including but not limited to:

• Original articles on presumed etiological pathways for ED- both clinical and neurobiological
• Review articles on state of the art advancements in ED research i.e. exploring the adverse childhood experiences framework or describing empirical research on neurobiological associations (e.g. primate or rodent studies welcomed)
• Original articles and reviews on diagnosis and classification of ED
• Original articles and reviews on the recent state of intervention research- overview of established discoveries and evaluation studies of novel concepts


Keywords: Emotion Regulation, Disruptive Mood Disorders, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Child Abuse, Early Life Stress


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

16 October 2020 Manuscript
16 November 2020 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

16 October 2020 Manuscript
16 November 2020 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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