Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Original Article

Emotion Regulation, Theory of Mind, and Attachment to Parents and Peers Among Turkish Adolescent Offenders and Victims: A Single-Center, Cross-Sectional, Case–Control Study


Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Mersin Toros State Hospital, Mersin, Turkey


Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bolu Abant İzzet Baysal University Medical School, Bolu, Turkey


Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Eskişehir Yunus Emre State Hospital, Eskişehir, Turkey


Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bilecik State Hospital, Bilecik, Turkey

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2023; 33: 316-325
DOI: 10.5152/pcp.2023.22601
Read: 824 Downloads: 380 Published: 13 October 2023

Background: There may be many risk factors for both youth offending and victimization. In our study, we aimed to compare youth offenders and victims in terms of attachment characteristics, emotion regulation, and mind-reading skills.

Methods: This study employed a single-center, cross-sectional, case–control design. Kiddie and Young Adult Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia Present and Lifetime Version along with diagnostic criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, were administered by clinicians. Mind-reading skills were assessed with Reading the Mind in the Eyes task (RMET) and Faces test. Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) and Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment-Short Form (IPPA-SF) were used for assessing attachment and emotion regulation properties.

Results: When we compared the two groups in terms of IPPA-SF, DERS, RMET and Faces test, we found that victimized and offending youth did not differ significantly in terms of attachment to peers and communication/trust domains of parental attachment. Youth offenders and victims differed significantly in terms of DERS- Non-acceptance and Goals both (P = .031 and .045; respectively). Offending youth scored significantly higher in Non-acceptance, while victimized youth scored significantly higher in Goals.

Conclusion: Offending youth were more alienated from their parents, were experiencing problems with emotional acceptance, and had lower theory of mind and emotion recognition skills compared to victimized youth. Therefore, protective interventions supporting parent-adolescent communication/ attachment, as well as emotion recognition/regulation and theory of mind skills of youth, may protect children from both victimization and delinquency.

Cite this article as: İmrek Y, Öztürk Y, Balta Kesikbaş B, Taşkan M, Göl Özcan G, Tufan AE. Emotion regulation, theory of mind, and attachment to parents and peers among turkish adolescent offenders and victims: A single-center, cross-sectional, case–control study. Psychiatry Clin Psychopharmacol. 2023;33(4):316-325.

EISSN 2475-0581