Supporting adolescents struggling with emotional regulation using wearable technologies
Emotion regulation skills are critical for adaptation to stressful life events and are particularly important in adolescence, as it is traditionally a time of emotional volatility. Difficulties in emotional regulation are associated with problems performing daily activities, poor mental health, and suicide—a leading cause of death among young people in the United States. Changes in daily activity and physiology have shown to correspond with fluctuations in one’s emotional experience. Wearable sensor technology and mobile applications now make it possible to continuously capture and create a record of one’s daily activities and physiological responses. We are fortunate to have a research partnership with Hillside Inc., a preeminent behavioral health treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, that treats adolescents struggling with emotional regulation. Data captured by Personicle will be used to describe patterns of behavior and physiological responses as they relate to adolescents’ emotional experiences. Identification, monitoring, and intervention to help adolescents improve emotional regulation in real-time, as they become dysregulated, is predicated on our ability to characterize these patterns of adolescents’ emotional experiences. Findings will inform our future work that will focus on increasing adolescents’ ability to attune to behavioral and physiological cues, serving as prompts for adolescents to use emotion regulation skills.