Emotion dysregulation and suicidality: an investigation into entity beliefs, emotion dysregulation and suicidality and a critical review of the literature on trauma, emotion dysregulation and suicidality.

  • Meryl Kilshaw

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology


This thesis forms part of the examination for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (ClinPsyD), in the Faculty of Biological Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester. The thesis has been written by Meryl Anne Kilshaw and submitted in July 2016 for examination in December 2016.The thesis focusses on associations between emotion dysregulation, emotion regulation strategies and suicidality. The thesis also aimed to investigate other important psychological factors which may be associated with suicidality.Paper 1 provides a comprehensive literature review of the available research on trauma, emotion dysregulation and suicidality. The review aimed to examine the association between trauma, emotion dysregulation and suicidality, and explore whether specific emotion regulation strategies were associated with trauma and suicidality. Paper 1 also aimed to identify if there were any particular types of trauma specifically associated with emotion dysregulation and suicidality. The findings indicated that there is an overall relationship between trauma, emotion dysregulation and suicidality. More specifically, there is a stronger relationship indicated between trauma, dissociation and suicidality and childhood trauma is particularly indicated in this relationship. There is less of a consistent relationship between trauma, impulsivity and suicidality. The review illustrated that more research is required to explore the overall relationship between trauma, overall emotion dysregulation and suicidality, as well as less well researched regulation strategies such as alexithymia, emotion coping, thought suppression, rumination and cognitive avoidance.Paper 2 describes an investigation into the role of entity beliefs about emotion, emotion dysregulation, specific emotion regulation strategies and suicidality. A total of 101 participants from mental health inpatient and community mental health settings completed questionnaires for the study. The results indicated that entity beliefs about emotion were not associated with suicidality once depression and hopelessness were controlled for in the analysis. Entity beliefs about emotion were also not associated with emotion dysregulation and the specific emotion regulation strategies of impulse control difficulties and non-acceptance of emotions when depression and hopelessness were taken into account. Entity beliefs were associated with limited access to emotion regulation strategies. Emotion dysregulation and the specific strategies of non-acceptance of emotions, limited access to emotion regulation strategies and impulse control difficulties predicted suicidality over and above depression. The clinical and research implications, and limitations of this research are discussed within the paper.Paper 3 provides a critical reflection of Paper 1 and Paper 2, including the strengths and limitations of these papers. Personal reflections of the research process are also provided within this paper.
Date of Award31 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester


  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Suicidality

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