Peculiarities of emotional styles in persons with traumatic experience

- Сандал, О.С. ( (2023) Peculiarities of emotional styles in persons with traumatic experience Masters thesis, Інститут психології імені Г. С. Костюка.

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Sandal. O. S. Peculiarities of emotional styles in persons with traumatic experience – Qualification research work in the from of manuscript. Dissertation for PhD degreespecialty 053 – Psychology (19.00.01 – general psychology). – H. S. Kostiuk Institute of Psychology of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, 2023 The dissertation research is dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of the features of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience, the disclosure of the essence of the concepts «emotional styles» and «traumatic experience», the development of a theoretical model of the functioning of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience, the identification of features of mental representations of parameters of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience, the implementation of experimental testing of a correctional-developmental program for correcting traumatic experience and developing adaptive emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience. Considering that psychologically traumatic events create social tensions, disrupt adaptive potential, and mental well-being of the subject, and increase the number of individuals with traumatic experience, significantly deteriorating their quality of life. There is a need to improve psychological measures, psycho-correctional programs for supporting individuals with traumatic experiences. The concepts of «emotional style», which have a powerful potential for providing psychological assistance to individuals, are insufficiently considered and are beyond the scope of attention in studies of the nature of stress behavior. Therefore, the study of the characteristics of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience is a relevant research task, the solution of which will contribute to the increased effectiveness of working with affected individuals. The first chapter provides a theoretical analysis of scientific-psychological concepts related to the study of emotional styles, which researchers have approached and understood differently. The contemporary concept of emotional style is examined, where scientists have determined that the emotional behavior of an individual is associated with emotional responses in the brain, and various emotional styles have been empirically investigated. After a thorough analysis, we have defined «emotional style» as a combination of emotional experiences containing unique parameters. Personality manifests its emotional style, revealing its individuality as a subject. The personal source of the emotional style is revealed in its subjective nature, entering the processes of self-expression and self-revelation of the inner world. As a subject, the personality actualizes its emotional style, which is evident in both the internal and external contours, determining specific manifestations in objective activities. The internal contour of the emotional style forms a hierarchical structure encompassing a system of subjective values, cognitive parameters, and the behavior of the individual as a strategy for managing emotional distress. The external contour of the emotional style comprises the effects of adaptive and maladaptive functioning, serving as a measure of the adequacy of costs incurred to achieve a goal. The capabilities of an emotional style constitute a complex interplay between style and individual personality traits that influence one's management of emotional distress. These capabilities go beyond defining a positive or negative emotional style. It is emphasized that emotional experiences assist the individual in decision-making and choosing appropriate actions. The concept of mental representation is explored, informing the individual about the meaningful state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. It is identified that investigating the content of mental representation of verbal behavior and the mental state of an individual is commonly done through self-reports. The analysis of self-reports, as a form of communicative act, can provide information about the internal state and reveal the ontological structure of an individual's consciousness. Summarizing the analysis of theoretical concepts related to the study of traumatic experience, we have determined that «traumatic experience» is one that, with its destructive force, threatens the integrity of the individual and leads to mental exhaustion. The author's understanding of the investigated phenomenon has been defined and presented in the form of a model of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience. Adaptive possibilities of emotional style are discussed as a complex interplay between style and individual personality traits influencing the management of emotional distress, extending beyond the categorization into positive or negative emotional styles. Depending on the destructive force of traumatic experiences, individuals will choose adaptive and/or maladaptive strategies for the parameters of emotional styles. These parameters include cognitive regulation of emotions, optimism-pessimism, emotional attitudes, tolerance-intolerance of uncertainty, positive-negative affect, and psychological defense. These parameters of emotional style will be manifested depending on the context (support from significant others, social isolation, etc.) and the individual's interpretation of traumatic experience, such as post-traumatic growth or regressive behavior, as well as the type and depth of traumatization. The second chapter presents a psychodiagnostic toolkit that provided the opportunity to trace the features of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience. Traumatic experience in individuals was identified using relevant methods (the DES dissociation scale by V. Agarkov, N. Tarabrina, the questionnaire of peritraumatic dissociation by V. Agarkov, N. Tarabrina, and the symptomatic questionnaire SCL-90-R by L. Derogatis). The parameters of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience was identified using corresponding methods (the cognitive emotion regulation questionnaire by N. Garnefski, V. Kraaij, the method of determining attributive styles by M. Seligman, the scale of tolerance for ambiguity by S. Budner, the personal questionnaire of emotional attitude by A. Gersaild, the scale of positive and negative affect by D. Watson, L. Clark, & A. Tellegen, the methodology for measuring psychological defense by O. Pilyugina, R. Suleymanov). The total number of participants was 201 individuals, including 41 males and 160 females, aged between 18 and 72 years. The research sample was divided into two groups: the first group included (n=125) individuals with traumatic experience, and the second group included (n=76) individuals without traumatic experience. According to the results of the exploratory experiment, individuals with traumatic experience had undergone psychotraumatic events such as sexual assault or harassment, other life-threatening situations, childhood neglect, and physical violence. Among individuals with traumatic experience, the most prevalent types of trauma identified were emotional abuse and trauma, physical violence and dangerous situations, and other psychological traumas. It has been identified that individuals with traumatic experiences exhibit dissociative experiences characterized by changes in emotional expression and perception disturbances due to limited cognitive processing, allowing the ignoring of specific aspects or entirely painful experiences. Signs of the intensity of peritraumatic dissociation have been observed, manifested in experiences such as derealization, allowing individuals with traumatic experience to distance themselves from unbearable situations, reducing the level of pain, emotional distress, and "protecting" from realizing the full extent of traumatic experience. The "depth" of emotional distress has been identified, manifested in physical symptoms (headaches, muscle pains, etc.) and psychological equivalents of anxiety. Individuals with traumatic experience are characterized by continuous, insurmountable, and alien thoughts and actions to their own «self»; comparing themselves with others and feeling personal inadequacy; a noticeable discomfort in interpersonal interactions leading to anxiety; negative expectations regarding interactions with other people; a sense of lack of interest in life, a lack of motivation, and a feeling of hopelessness; a state of hostility and suspicion. It has been established that among individuals with a traumatic experience, there is a higher prevalence of those who are «lonely» or in a «civil marriage». It is noted that traumatic experience significantly impacts the destructive force that threatens the integrity of the individual and leads to the depletion of the mental well-being of individuals with traumatic experience. Mental representations of emotional style parameters in individuals with traumatic experience have been identified. For the parameter of «cognitive emotion regulation», maladaptive strategies were found, manifested in the ability to exaggerate the destructive force of the event that occurred and to shift blame onto other people or circumstances unrelated to the individual. This resulted in experiences of emotional distress, poor adaptation, and weak emotional well-being. For the parameter of «optimism-pessimism», no statistically significant differences were found between individuals of both groups and were considered as a tendency within the scope of our study. For the parameter of "tolerance-intolerance of uncertainty," maladaptive strategies were identified, involving perceiving complex situations more as threats than opportunities for development. Additionally, an underdeveloped anticipatory function of the mind was established, leading to an inability to predict the dynamics of a situation and a loss of control over one's life. For the parameter of "emotional attitude," maladaptive strategies were found, leading to feelings of loneliness, isolation, abandonment, and misunderstanding. The lack of communication and close relationships was observed, influencing the hindrance of forming friendly connections. A state of existential absurdity, manifested in dissatisfaction with one's efforts in work, education, or family relationships, was also identified. This state led to a feeling of insufficient importance and significance of events occurring in life in a state of freedom of choice (attitude towards authorities), characterized by a sense of personal limitation in choosing various options that would meet essential needs. It is identified that there is discomfort in interacting with individuals of higher social status, where individuals do not feel free, hindering the assertion of personal boundaries, the right to one's own point of view, or resistance to any form of violence. In a state of hostility, manifested in actions and expressions of negative affective states of anger and a sense of guilt. This realization involves self-aggressive attitudes and beliefs in one's imperfection, and it is established that there is a loss of self-control and a sense of indignation, especially in situations of external pressure. In a state of discrepancy between the real and ideal self. In a state of free will, indicating an inability to make choices based on a deep awareness of all aspects of the choice situation. Undeveloped sensory orientation is established. In a state of hopelessness, characterized by a pessimistic perception of reality, one's own self, and future prospects. Emotional deficit is identified, leading to the formation of a state of suppression and depression, hindering the achievement of vital goals. For the parameter of «positive-negative affect», maladaptive strategies are identified, and the experience of subjective suffering with unpleasant involvement of negative emotions is established. For the parameter of «psychological defense», maladaptive strategies of psychotic mechanisms such as «psychotic dissociation», «regression», and «suppression» are identified. Maladaptive strategies of infantile mechanisms, including «substitution/transference», «projection», «compulsive behavior», and «passive aggression», are also identified. The use of these defense mechanisms is established to minimize negative experiences. The above-mentioned maladaptive strategies of emotional styles highlight the need for the development of correctional and developmental measures aimed at correcting traumatic experience and developing adaptive strategies of emotional styles in individuals. In the third chapter, the rationale for the use of a correctional and developmental program is presented. The data obtained from the exploratory experiment provided us with insights into the phenomenology of psychological states in individuals with traumatic experience and maladaptive strategies of emotional styles, allowing us to determine directions for providing psychological assistance in a comprehensive approach. The correctional and developmental program is designed based on theoretical and empirical data, using a multimodal approach. It aligns with the goals and objectives of the research, encompassing both individual and group work with individuals who have a traumatic experience. The primary goal of the program is to create a psychological space that facilitates self-organization processes in individuals with traumatic experiences. These processes aim to alleviate traumatic experiences and stimulate the development of resilience and life sustainability. The program encourages the search for adaptive strategies of emotional styles to harmonize the psychoemotional state. The methodological foundation of the correctional and developmental program, titled «Search for Adaptive Strategies of Emotional Styles for Harmonizing the Psychoemotional State», is based on a multimodal approach. This approach takes into account the principles of person-centered therapy by C. Rogers (non-directive kindness, empathic understanding, and congruence), the concepts of integrative methods by G. Shulman (resilience, social and psychological stress resistance, and the holistic preservation of positive personal experiences toward the world and oneself), and the salutogenic approach by A. Antonovsky (activation of resources and the development of stress resistance). Within the program, lectures and webinars on topics such as «Personal Traumatic Experience», «Mental Health Care: What Is Stress?», «Overcoming Stress», and «Understanding Emotional Regulation and Its Importance for Constructive Interaction with Others» were utilized to enhance the understanding of personal traumatic experience and emotional manifestations in the process of addressing complex life situations. Individual consultations and discussions were conducted to provide information on ways of self-organization, proactive searching, defining one's role in social interaction, self-awareness of emotional states, and appropriate emotional expression. The application of available resources for recovery includes group activities aimed at developing the ability to find moral values in others, exploring emotional states, expressing feelings in socially acceptable ways, relieving muscular and psychoemotional tension, self-disclosure, and using positive emotions associated with past and future successes to form new relationships. It also involves establishing a favorable psychological climate, neutralizing emotional tension, creating positive motivation and interest in group work, activating positive emotions, and searching for resources to reduce psychoemotional tension to overcome stress. Group work incorporates various strategies, such as watching films that inspire a search for the meaning of life («The Substitute», 2011, dir. Tony Kaye), seeking answers to existential questions («99 francs», 2007, based on the book by Frédéric Beigbeder, dir. Jan Kounen), and finding joy in simple things («Amélie», 2001, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet). After participating in the program, individuals with traumatic experience and maladaptive strategies of emotional styles have reported positive changes. Quantitative indicators from the first group of individuals with traumatic experience (experimental group) were considered when analyzing the results. The formative experiment's results, based on each applied psychodiagnostic method, demonstrated statistically validated improvements in communicative abilities, a positive attitude toward new life experience, emotional openness, attention and concentration, anxiety reduction, feelings of safety and support from others, understanding of surroundings, finding new ways to solve complex life situations, and new adaptive behavior strategies (shared film viewing, emotional expression, emotional support, empathy, etc.). While the criteria for traumatic experience, such as signs of dissociative experiences and the "depth" of emotional distress, improved significantly, the indicator of signs of peritraumatic dissociation did not undergo substantial changes. The strategies of emotional style parameters in the researched individuals have become more adaptive to contemporary changing conditions. The results of the formative experiment have demonstrated the effectiveness of the presented psychological correctional and developmental program. Based on the effectiveness of the described methodological measures, recommendations have been proposed to mental health professionals to enhance the adaptive capabilities of individuals with traumatic experience and to develop adaptive strategies for emotional styles. Scientific novelty of the obtained research results lies in the fact that: - for the first time, a model of the functioning of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience has been proposed, considering them as strategies for managing emotional distress. Parameters such as cognitive regulation of emotions, optimism-pessimism, emotional attitude, tolerance-intolerance of uncertainty, positive-negative affect, psychological defense, and adaptive and maladaptive types have been identified. A psychological support program for individuals with traumatic experience has been developed, taking into account emotional styles and relying on self-organization processes. A correctional and developmental program aimed at activating personal resources and developing adaptive strategies for emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience has been developed, implemented, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated. - deepened and expanded understanding of the peculiarities of the functioning of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience as strategies for managing emotional distress. - the knowledge system regarding the specific mental representation of parameters of emotional styles in individuals with traumatic experience has undergone further development. The practical significance of the obtained results lies in the fact that the theoretical and empirical findings of the dissertation research can be applied in the process of providing psychological assistance to individuals with traumatic experience. Additionally, they can be used in the development of psychoeducation for various client categories who have experienced psychotraumatic events. The research findings can serve as a guide for psychologists in planning and implementing psychotherapeutic interventions, taking into account the specificity of emotional styles. The materials from the dissertation research can be incorporated into the preparation and conduct of lectures and seminars for students in the field of psychology (specialty 053) from courses such as «Introduction to the Specialty», «Psychology of Trauma», «Psychology of Emotions», «Visual Diagnostic Technologies», and «Psychology of Stress».

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Keywords: Keywords: emotional styles, emotions, affect, experiences, traumatic experience, post-traumatic stress disorder, post-traumatic growth, dissociation, depression, grief, crisis, COVID-19, psychodiagnostics, emotional health, resilience.
Subjects: Science and knowledge. Organization. Computer science. Information. Documentation. Librarianship. Institutions. Publications > 1 Philosophy. Psychology
Divisions: Institute of Psychology after N.Kostiuk > Laboratory of psychology of socially maladaptive juveniles
Depositing User: Ольга Сандал Сергіївна
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2023 10:21
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2024 07:54


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