How Do Childhood Emotional Environments Impact Young Adults with Suicidal Thoughts and No History of Abuse?

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About This Project

Suicide is a leading cause of death among young adults globally. Research indicates that the childhood emotional environment plays a crucial role in shaping mental health outcomes in later life. However, the specific mechanisms through which early emotional experiences influence suicidal tendencies remain underexplored. Our project addresses this gap by investigating the relationship between the childhood emotional environment and the emotional components of suicidal episodes.

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What is the context of this research?

Contemporary research attributes suicidal thoughts in adults with healthy childhood environments to various immediate life stressors, such as challenges in regulating the emotional intensity during academic pressure, relationship challenges, personal setbacks or triggering single events. They may be accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair.

However, the emotional responses may trace their origins to early developmental contexts. Existing studies often end inquiry upon identifying immediate triggers in adulthood, neglecting to follow through into the childhood emotional environments. As such, there remains a need to understand the previous affective experiences of individuals who develop suicidal thoughts in response to challenging situations later in life.

What is the significance of this project?

This study addresses a critical gap in suicide research. While much is known about the impact of childhood abuse on mental health in later life, there is little understanding of the reason for suicidal thoughts in young adults that come from seemingly healthy childhood environments. This project examines if and how the emotional parameters of childhood environments contribute to suicidal thoughts, aiming to uncover specific emotional mechanisms at play, thereby providing insights for more effective mental health interventions.

What are the goals of the project?

Suicidal tendencies are different from suicidal thoughts. This project intends to investigate individuals who do not have a history of childhood abuse, but resort to suicide ideation when faced with challenging events. The purpose is to help us determine if there is a direct causality or progression of emotional perception and coping abilities - from childhood events into adulthood - by answering questions related to the " life trajectory" of feelings of hopelessness and despair. Through the emotional integration sessions, we investigate the root cause for the heightened affective intensity. This will allow us to gain additional insight into the mechanisms of human affective processes.

Budget

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The project budget includes three items. The first is a subscription fee for data collection software, secure web survey deployment service, and participants' compensation- $300.

The second budget item, $2,000, is allocated for compensating the therapists providing the emotional trauma integration therapy (ETI) sessions necessary to investigate the root emotional causes of suicidal thoughts. We will recruit 200 young adults (ages 18-30) through online and community outreach efforts to complete standardized questionnaires. From this pool, we will select 20 participants to attend semi-structured interviews and receive two ETI sessions, each lasting 90 minutes. This totals 40 sessions (20 participants x 2 sessions), with each session costing $50.

The final item ($400) covers administrative costs for the project, including fundraising costs and transaction fees associated with Experiment.com.

Endorsed by

Ana's research will enhance our understanding of the importance of laying the foundations of emotional resilience in childhood in order to equip young people with healthy coping mechanisms when faced with adverse life events. The research Ana has undertaken in her book 'The Heart Brain Revolution, The Science of Being Human', demonstrates the capacity and dedication needed to complete this project.

Project Timeline

Upon receiving funding, the data collection phase will commence immediately and continue for one month. The screening process for selecting interview participants and therapy session recipients will take two weeks. The clinical phase of the project will span two months, followed by a data analysis phase, which will be completed within one month.

Jul 01, 2024

Project Launched

Jul 15, 2024

Survey Data Collection

Aug 01, 2024

Selection of Interview Participants

Oct 01, 2024

Clinical phase - conducting interviews and root trauma discovery sessions

Nov 01, 2024

Completion of data analysis phase

Meet the Team

Ana Maria Stoica
Ana Maria Stoica

Ana Maria Stoica

I am a psychotherapist and an Emotional Trauma Therapist, as well as the author of the book The Heart Brain Revolution: The Science of Being Human (Ingram, 2024).

My research primarily focuses on emotions and emotional trauma, particularly their connection to the Intracardiac Nervous System. The objective of this work is to clarify the relationship between affective and cognitive functions, with the ultimate goal of identifying the underlying causes of mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression.

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