Discriminant validity of emotion regulation and emotion reactivity and relations to non-suicidal self-injury
Zelkowitz, Rachel Lauren
The purpose of this study was to assess convergent and discriminant validity of self-report measures of emotion reactivity and emotion regulation and examine their associations with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Participants included 379 college students (79 % female), ages 18-25 (M = 18.62, SD = .88) at a private university. Participants self-administered questionnaires designed to tap emotion regulation – the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, and the Regulation of Emotions Questionnaire – and questionnaires designed to measure reactivity – the Emotion Reactivity Scale, the Affect Intensity & Reactivity Measure for Youth, and the Emotional Intensity Scale. We used the Inventory of Statements About Self-Injury to assess NSSI – 37.43% endorsed at least one lifetime incident. We computed subscale scores for all instruments and subjected them collectively to exploratory factor analysis with direct oblimin rotation and principal axis factoring. Parallel analysis and Kaiser criteria dictated the number of factors retained. A two-factor solution emerged, accounting for 39.5% of overall variance. The factors did not reflect emotion regulation and reactivity, as expected. Instead, Factor 1 represented Negative Emotion Reactivity and Factor 2 represented Positive Emotion Reactivity. Hierarchical linear regression supported small but significant incremental utility of Factor 1 measures in predicting NSSI beyond Factor 2 measures (ΔR2=.08, F (9, 345)=3.22, p<.01), but not vice versa. Results suggest a lack of discriminant validity among self-report measures of emotion regulation and emotion reactivity. Hierarchical regression results suggest the importance of negative emotion reactivity as a correlate of NSSI. Implications emerge for both research and practice.