Betrayal Trauma in Youth and Negative Communication during a Stressful Task: The Mediating Role of Emotion Dysregulation

Vanessa M. Jacoby, Elisa Krackow, Joseph R. Scotti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Attachment-based theories and related research illustrate that emotion regulation develops in the context of a secure relationship between a child and caregiver. When a secure bond is broken, such as in the context of betrayal trauma, children fail to develop necessary emotion regulation skills which can lead to an array of relational problems. The current study examined the relations between betrayal trauma history, type of communication during a stressful interpersonal laboratory task, and emotion regulation difficulties in a sample of trauma-exposed adolescents. Results showed that adolescents with a betrayal trauma history reported more emotion regulation difficulties and exhibited more aggressive and fewer positive communication behaviors when engaged in a stressful interpersonal task with their mothers than did adolescents exposed only to nonbetrayal trauma. Emotion regulation difficulties mediated the relation between betrayal trauma history and negative communication. The clinical and developmental implications from these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-275
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • betrayal trauma
  • dyad
  • emotion regulation
  • interpersonal communication
  • mental health
  • stress trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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