Distress Tolerance in the Context of Emotional Reactivity and Learned Helplessness: A Case Study of Self-Damaging Behaviour in UAE

Distress Tolerance in the Context of Emotional Reactivity and Learned Helplessness: A Case Study of Self-Damaging Behaviour in UAE

Faisal Khan, Aisha Khan, Sharif Ullah Jan, Hashim Khan
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.298687
(Individual Articles)
No Current Special Offers


Limited attention has been given to the individual differences in distress tolerance in the existing literature. Past studies suggest that the emotional reactivity and learned helplessness individual factors are distress tolerance. Specifically, in the context of self-damaging behavior, further investigation is required to identify the impacts of emotional reactivity and learned helplessness. This study is based on a field survey and the data was collected from 108 respondents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that measures learned helplessness, emotional reactivity, distress tolerance, and self-damaging behavior. Following Khosravani et al. (2021) and Ghasemzadeh et al. (2021), the “Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)” was applied to achieve the results. Findings suggest that together emotional reactivity and learned helplessness can explain the perceived variance in distress tolerance. Further, distress tolerance has a significant impact on self-damaging behavior. Our findings are in line with Sommers (2017). Furthermore, the findings will have implications for researchers studying distress tolerance and self-damaging behaviors, clinicians treating clients with difficulty managing distress, or self-damaging behaviors. The research recommends that emotional reactivity could be a key target of clinical involvement and preemptive learning.
Article Preview

1. Introduction

Emotional distress tolerance (DT) is referred to as the perceived ability of an individual to withstand negative emotional states (Zvolensky et al., 2011; Shorey et al., 2017; del Valle et al., 2020). Further, it is the concept of having significance across multiple diagnostic categories (Kiselica et al., 2014; Daros & Williams, 2019). More specifically, low DT has been related to behavior that most immediately mitigates one’s distress that might harm physically or psychologically over the long run (McHugh et al., 2014; Carpenter et al., 2019). Low DT is associated with behaviors such as eating disorders, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicidality (Andover et al.,, 2010; Gandhi et al., 2018). All these signs are critical to research as they lead to physical harm to those engaged in them. The scope of the current study is limited to a sub-set of self-damaging behavior; however, individuals engaged in these self-damaging behaviors might be included in broader diagnostic categories. For example, the one who is engaged in restricting behavior can meet the criteria for “anorexia nervosa”. Interestingly, this prevalence rate is unknown for females, however, less prevalent in males (Andover, et al., 2010; Iskric et al., 2020). Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by a host of serious consequences such as social problems, academic problems, career problems, health problems, and death. Theoretically, distress tolerance could have two shapes i.e. either the perceived capacity or the behavioral act (see Leyro et al., 2010).

It is apparent that self-damaging behavior shows a significant and costly public health concern and similarly poses severe functional outcomes for the individuals engaging in the behaviors. As these self-damaging behaviors are linked with DT, it is an important construct for research in the clinical context. DT is considered to be malleable in response to clinical intervention (Marshall et al., 2008; Veilleux, 2019). DT skill training is incorporated in a variety of “therapeutic approaches” such as “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”, “Dialectical Behavior Therapy”, “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”, and “DT-specific approaches”. Unfortunately, factors contributing to individual differences in the level of DT remained mainly unexplored (Feldman et al., 2014). Individual difference attributes are important to understand and refer to how individuals are different from one another (Greenberg, 2011), these attributes include personality traits, self-concept, physiological responses, sociability, risk-taking, personal interests, values, and attitudes, etc. in the absence of knowledge of these would certainly lead to increasing DT (Marshall et al., 2008; Veilleux, 2019).

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Volume 13: 1 Issue (2023)
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2022): 1 Released, 3 Forthcoming
Volume 11: 4 Issues (2021)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2020)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2019)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2011)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing