Effects of childhood emotional maltreatment on depressive symptoms through emotion dysregulation in treatment-seeking patients with heroin-dependence.


Psychosocial Injuries Research Center, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Although individuals who experience childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM) are more likely to use maladaptive emotion regulation strategies, resulting in vulnerability to depression, no research has examined whether emotion dysregulation may explain the association between CEM and current depressive symptoms in a clinical sample of heroin-dependent individuals.
OBJECTIVE : The current study aimed to assess the direct effect of CEM on current depressive symptoms and its indirect effect via emotion dysregulation in a treatment-seeking sample of males with heroin dependence. In a cross-sectional design, participants (N = 350) completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-Short Form (CTQ-SF), the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), the Obsessive-Compulsive Drug Use Scale (OCDUS), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).
RESULTS : Emotional abuse and neglect severity had significant direct effects on current depressive symptoms and significant indirect effects through emotion dysregulation after controlling for clinical factors related to heroin use.
CONCLUSIONS : Study limitations include the cross-sectional design and use of self-report scales.
CONCLUSIONS : Findings suggest emotion dysregulation may increase depressive symptoms in heroin users who experienced CEM. Training in emotion regulation strategies may decrease depressive symptoms in heroin-dependent individuals with CEM. Additional research with a longitudinal design to confirm these results is warranted.


Childhood emotional maltreatment,Depression,Emotion dysregulation,Heroin dependence,

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