Negative Affect and Emotion Dysregulation: Conditional Relations With Violence and Risky Sexual Behavior in a Sample of Justice-Involved Adolescents

Drew J. Miller, David D. Vachon, Matthew C. Aalsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Previous research has shown negative affect and emotion dysregulation to be significant predictors of adverse outcomes. Because justice-involved adolescents have demonstrated more negative emotionality and fewer adaptive emotion regulation strategies than their non-justice-involved peers, they may be particularly susceptible to maladaptive behavior. The current study investigated the extent to which negative affect and facets of emotion dysregulation were associated with violence and risky sexual behavior. Participants included 94 justice-involved adolescents who were recruited while waiting for their court date and asked to complete several questionnaires. Results suggest that global negative affect and emotion dysregulation are not associated with violence or risky sexual behavior. However, specific aspects of negative affect (anger) and emotion dysregulation (impulse control difficulties) did predict violence. Examination of conditional effects also suggested that negative affect is significantly associated with violence and risky sexual behavior in adolescents who have specific difficulties regulating their emotions (e.g., poor emotional clarity and limited access to emotion regulation strategies). This study demonstrates the utility of examining negative affect and emotion regulation as heterogeneous constructs that interact in specific ways to predict violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1316-1327
Number of pages12
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012



  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Negative affect
  • Sexual behavior
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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