Research team

Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute (CAPRI)

Expertise

The research of Monica Dhar is aimed at improving mental health in children and adolescents. Her research efforts are focused on cognitive control and emotion regulation. Another goal of her research is to optimize existing treatment protocols and develop new evidence-based ones. She aims to bridge the gap between insights from fundamental research and clinical practice, by translating research findings to the clinical field. Monica Dhar has expertise in both developmental and cognitive psychology. She is particularly interested in developmental disorders and has a strong methodological background in experimental psychology (designing paradigms, programming skills), and event-related potential (ERP) studies (including advanced source localization and topographical mapping analyses).

The development of an emotion coaching intervention for parents. 01/12/2020 - 30/11/2022

Abstract

Emotion regulation is a transdiagnostic mechanism that, when maladaptive, underlies mental health problems such as internalising and externalising disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, behavioural problems). Children with adaptive emotion regulation skills are better equipped to regulate their behaviour and have better mental health outcomes. Therefore, emotion regulation is acknowledged as an important skill to develop in children in order to prevent psychopathology. Parents play a major role in the development of their children's emotion regulation abilities (through modelling, creating a secure family environment and parenting). At first, children learn to regulate their emotions externally by relying on their parents for emotional support and problem solving when stressed. Gradually, they internalise these abilities and become more self-sufficient in this regard and are better able to cope with stressors on their own. So, parents play a crucial part in the initial phase of emotional development. Adequate coaching of a child's emotional behaviour can act as a protective factor for mental health. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop an evidence-based emotion coaching intervention, designed to help parents coach their children in learning emotion regulation skills, with the ultimate goal to buffer against mental illness. We will adhere to recent insights on emotion regulation by adopting emotion regulation skills that were shown to have positive outcomes on mental health. Furthermore, we will work together with parents to be able to take their needs into account when developing the intervention.

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