Investigating Development Case: Self-Regulation

Investigating Development Case: Self-Regulation

MAKE A DECISION: How would you describe Randy’s problems in his workplace and what is your recommendation in how to address these issues?

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  1. Other than his temper, Randy is a good employee. As valuable as he is, it’s probably best to encourage Randy to seek counseling and limit his contact with coworkers.
  2. It is of concern that Randy does not really think he has a problem. He should be required to complete an anger management program while remaining at work under close supervision.
  3. Randy clearly has some serious problems. He should be suspended until he has successfully completed an anger management program and then return to work as a probationary employee.
  4. Employers really cannot afford to keep employees who exhibit bad tempers. Randy should be terminated quietly with severance pay and insurance coverage to continue counseling.

Think about the factors that influenced your recommendation for Randy. Why did you choose the option that you did? Include these aspects of Randy’s situation in your response:

  • Randy’s personal history with anger and other impulse control issues
  • The impact of anger in the workplace, in families, and on society as a whole
  • The likelihood that an anger management program will be successful
  • The legal and ethical issues posed by the situation and your positions on those issues

Investigate Development Case: Self-Regulation

Instructions: Consult the Research about Self-Regulation.

 

Schemas

Emotion schemas develop under the influence of individual differences, learning, and social and cultural factors, and are central to both the interpretation and regulation of emotions (Izard, 2007).

 

Izard’s differential emotions theory proposes that basic emotions such as anger and fear are rooted in evolution and neurobiological development, and are often more inherently adaptive than maladaptive, in that they help organize and motivate rapid actions that are necessary for survival or well-being (Izard, 2009).

Emotion schemas begin to develop when a child begins to label emotions at two to three years of age. However, even very young infants are capable of some degree of emotional regulation and may learn through interaction with caregivers that some emotions are likely to result in solicitous attention, while others may be ignored (Zuckerman & Lieberman, 2002).

Two major forms of emotional regulation are reappraisal, which involves reframing a situation early on to decrease its emotional impact, and suppression, which involves inhibiting the outward signs of emotion. In adulthood, adults become more skilled at intervening early in the experience of a potentially disruptive emotion rather than later (Gross, 2001).

Research suggests that learning to identify and label an emotion may help to decrease emotional reactivity by verbally acknowledging what is happening and then reappraising it (Moyal et al., 2013).

Acts of self-control deplete blood glucose levels, but the losses may vary by individual. Those who are not as effective at regulating their emotions appear to deplete their energy (glucose) reserves quicker, suggesting that good emotion regulators are able to achieve the same positive mood with less cost (Nivens et al., 2013).

 

About anger

Anger may be described as the emotional reaction we have to a perceived threat, violation or injustice, whether it arises internally (e.g., getting angry at one’s self for failing to complete an assignment) or from an external source (e.g., getting angry at a professor who refuses to extend the deadline for an assignment) (Fernandez & Johnson, 2016).

 

Neurobiologically, anger is associated with the functioning of the dopaminergic system and the volume of the amygdala as well as activity in the frontal cortex and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (Reuter et al., 2002, 2009).

Socialization plays an important role in the experience and expression of anger (Lemerise & Dodge, 2008).

While there are cultural norms against the expression of anger in many cultures, the norms seem to be more quickly learned in some cultures than others (Hareli, Kafetsios, & Hess, 2015).

Men are more likely to experience urges to be physically aggressive and to behave impulsively than are women, who are more likely to be resentful or express their anger indirectly but tend to be remain angry longer. Anger tends to decrease with age and the differences between male and female experiences of anger decrease with age as well. (DiGiuseppe & Tafrate, 2007).

Individuals who have greater social power are more likely to express anger directly, while those with less social power are less likely to express their emotions directly. Interestingly, this also correlates with different patterns of activation in the frontal cortex (Li et al., 2016). Investigating Development Case: Self-Regulation

 

Regulation Emotions

For some individuals, the regulation of emotions is a lifelong struggle and may be related to a disorder.

 

Even in early childhood, an individual may be diagnosed with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which is marked by repeated, severe temper outbursts that are far out of proportion to the situation (American Psychiatric Association, 2013a).

Children over the age of six, adolescents, and adults may be diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder, which involves verbal aggression, noninjurious/nondestructive physical aggression, or injurious/destructive physical aggression that is, again, out of proportion to the situation (American Psychiatric Association, 2013b).

Certain other psychiatric disorders are also characterized by emotional dysregulation. Emotional dysregulation is especially prominent in borderline personality disorder (Carpenter & Trull, 2013).

Emotional dysregulation often occurs during schizophrenia (Khoury & Lecomte, 2012) and its severity correlates with the extent of reduction in brain density in ventral striatum, an area of the brain involved in emotion (Stegmayer et al., 2014).

Emotional dysregulation may be related to depression in that emotional dysregulation is thought to mediate the relationship between emotional abuse and depression (Crow et al., 2014).

 

Costs of Anger

Research suggests that experiencing negative emotions such as anger does not, per se, produce adverse health effects, but rather, a lack of ability to effectively regulate those emotions (Potijk et al., 2016).

 

Anger is predictive of intimate partner violence in adults, although more so for women than men (Thorton et al., 2016). On the other hand, anger is predictive of recidivism among violent men who commit intimate partner violence (Farzan-Kashani and Murphy, 2015).

In the workplace, anger is associated with an increased risk of violation of safety rules (Beus et al., 2015), emotional exhaustion (Hensel et al., 2014) and workplace violence (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, 2014).

Anger is associated with aggressive driving as well as both risky driving and driving errors (Sani et al., 2017; Zhang and Chen, 2016).

Outwardly-directed anger is associated with the progression of newly-diagnosed high blood pressure, after controlling for age, sex, and socioeconomic status (Ford et al., 2016).

Anger has a complex correlation with substance use and addiction. For example, higher levels of trait hostility are associated with increased negative affect (e.g., anxiety, depression, and confusion) during withdrawal from tobacco (Quinn, 2014). Higher levels of anger are also associated with the abuse of and dependence on alcohol (Leite et al., 2014).

 

Managing Anger

Three general strategies have been successfully employed in more formal settings to help individuals with anger management: relaxation, cognitive therapy, and skills training (Holloway, 2003).

 

Teaching individuals self-calming strategies may be especially effective because they reduce physiological arousal (Mackintosh et al., 2014).

Cognitive-behavioral methods have proven effective with a wide range of populations, including children and adolescents (Lochman, 2011), active duty military (Linkh & Sonnek, 2003), and veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (Morland et al., 2010), and recent immigrants (Pratt et al., 2017).

Mindfulness training can help individuals with mental illness control their aggressive behavior (Singh et al., 2007) and has been shown to assist with anger management among young male offenders who are serving community sentences (Barrett, 2016).

Informally, individuals may use a number of methods to help them effectively regulate their emotions, including music. When customers on hold with a call center listened to currently popular music with neutral lyrics, they expressed less anger than did those listening to the more typical, commercially-produced instrumental “wait” music (Niven, 2015). Even “extreme” music such as heavy metal may actually represent a way for those who enjoy it to process their anger experience more positive emotions (Sharman and Dingle, 2015).

Some popular methods, however, are less than effective. For example, catharsis, or freely expressing anger or rage, appears to increase anger, not reduce it (Bushman, Baumeister, and Stack, 1999).

 

Please Investigate the Evidence I have collected from Randy

Employee Assistance Program Referral

 

Employee name: Randall C. Talbott

Employee I D number: 242528

Employee title: Software developer, three

Name of person making referral: Marcus Hintman

Position or relationship to employee: Senior software developer or immediate supervisor

Date of referral: May 23, 2016

 

Reason for referral: On May 22, 2016, Mr. Talbott became verbally aggressive and physically advanced toward L S, with whom Mr. Talbott was working on a high priority, tight-deadline project. L S, knowing Mr. Talbott’s reputation for being a perfectionist who “liked being in control of everyone and everything,” had asked me to discretely monitor a conversation he was about to have with Mr. Talbott. He was concerned about how Mr. Talbott would respond. This account is based on notes I took from an adjacent workspace. L S informed Mr. Talbott that he would be unable to work over the weekend due to a family commitment. Mr. Talbott asserted that the project required that they both work over the weekend and accused L S of being a slacker. L S replied that he would be available by phone and that Mr. Talbott could call him in the event of an emergency, but that, but given Mr. Talbott’s skills, he doubted it would be necessary. Mr. Talbott escalated and asked L S what he was trying to infer. L S urged Mr. Talbott to “relax,” and as Mr. Talbott spewed a string or epithets, I walked into the workspace in time to see him move quickly towards L S. I ordered L S to return to his workspace and escorted Mr. Talbott to my office where we discussed the situation. He readily acknowledged that he had lost his temper and blamed his heavy workload and stress at home. I told him I would discuss the incident with Human Resources and would inform him of the decision within two work days. Investigating Development Case: Self-Regulation

 

Desired outcome: Mr. Talbott is an exceptionally skilled software engineer who has served the company well. I would genuinely hate to lose him, as he would be difficult to replace. However, he is rigid and controlling and becomes easily upset if things don’t go according to his specifications. He gets angry at other employees when their performance is not up to his standards; he also gets extremely angry with himself when he feels he has not done his best. I would like to see Mr. Talbott continue as an employee here, but feel it is essential for him to receive help with anger management and whatever else is going on in his life if he is to remain.

Interview with Randy

Sure. Lou and I are working on a major project for the company. It has the potential to bring in a substantial amount of money, even generate new jobs, and frankly, Lou is not carrying his own weight. It all falls to me, at least the actual work itself. Anyway, the bosses, who have absolutely no idea of what is involved, moved up a couple of deadlines. The only way we could hit those deadlines is if both Lou and I worked through the weekend. It being Memorial Day weekend, well, both our families had stuff planned. I told my wife that she would have to take the kids to the family picnic. She wasn’t happy, but we depend on my salary, and we all have to make sacrifices, not just me. Lou, though, he had a camping trip planned with his family and he decided he was going to go. He even asked me not to call unless it was an emergency, like somehow his going camping is more important than the job, hell, more important than me. So I let him know what I thought frankly – maybe I got a little riled up, but I figure he needs to hear it from someone.

Yeah, look, I do have a temper. But I’m a perfectionist. I work hard and expect others to as well, whether it’s at work or at home or wherever. And I cannot stand slackers. People who are lazy and sloppy – it’s unfair to me and I shouldn’t have to deal with it. So you betcha – I let Lou know where he stands with me. You screw up my project deadline and expect to get away with it? Really, you can’t even be bothered over the weekend? I don’t have time to deal with Lou and get the job done. It’s the same story with my kids – my wife says they are sometimes scared of me, but I’m their father, not their buddy. If I don’t set high standards for them and expect them to meet those standards, what’s going to happen when they’re out in the real world?

I don’t personally have a problem with my temper, but obviously other people do. So I guess I don’t see that I need any special counseling or anger management or anything like that. Maybe rather than trying to fix *me*, they ought to be more reasonable about workloads or give me a project partner who will actually do his fair share of the work.

Coworker Statement

Confidential Report

 

Employee: Louis Seckman

Regarding: incident involving Randy Talbott

Date: May 23, 2016

 

I am providing this statement at the request of my supervisor, Marcus Hintman, to explain what happened with Randy Talbott on May 22, 2016. Randy and I were working on a very challenging project that had a tight deadline. We’ve worked together before so I know that although he really is brilliant, he’s also hard to work with. He’s a perfectionist and expects everyone else to work as hard and produce as much high quality work as he does. He told me he wanted to work Memorial Day weekend because that was the only way we would be able to get everything done in time. When he first mentioned this, I didn’t tell him that my family and I are going camping that weekend. This is the first time our youngest has been old enough to really enjoy camping and we’ve been planning the trip since last fall.

 

I went to talk to Marcus and told him what had happened. I told him I would tell Randy but I was worried enough that I wanted Marcus to listed in, discretely if possible. Randy doesn’t just get angry at people. If you don’t do what he wants, he’ll make sure others know he is the one who is responsible for the success of the project and you were just dead weight. We all know he does this and rarely take his biased accounts as truth, but I’m just tired of it. I want to be able to protect my reputation.

 

So Marcus sat in a cubicle near Randy’s and I broke the news to him that I would be on a camping trip with my family and would not be in the office Memorial Day weekend. I actually saw him turn red, like in a cartoon. He said I was a slacker and that if the project failed, it would be my fault. I told him I would have my phone and table with me and that he could contact me if he needed me, but that just made it worse. He stood up and took a couple of steps in my direction and then Marcus came around the corner and sent me back to my cubicle.

Lou S.

 

Diagnostic Report

Doctor William Harris

Greendale Community Mental Health

P O Box 7539

Greendale, Idaho

 

Regarding: Diagnostic report for Randall Talbott

Date: May 23, 2016

 

Dear Mr. Hintman,

 

This letter, which is provided pursuant to the consent for the release of protected health information signed by Randall Talbott and attached, summarizes the results of a diagnostic interview with Mr. Talbott.

 

Mr. Talbott states that he was ordered to seek services from his corporate assistance program following an incident that he describes as grossly overblown by an employee whom he speaks of in disparaging terms. He complains of an excessively heavy workload, lack of assistance from coworkers, and lack of support from his supervisor. He describes himself as a perfectionist and states that he takes great pride in a job well done, but also notes that he often feels others pull him down. He reports escalating stress both at work and at home, and notes some difficulty in his marriage and with his children. He complains of difficulty sleeping and says he often has several beers at night to ease his tension and help him sleep. He experiences anxiety in most settings and describes himself as “powering through” or trying to ignore it as much as possible because he views his feelings as a weakness. He has limited insight into his behavior and environment and tends to minimize the impact of his actions on others. Based on the clinical interview and the results of psychometric testing, his diagnoses are as follows: Investigating Development Case: Self-Regulation

 

312.34 Intermittent explosive disorder

300.02 Generalized anxiety disorder, moderate severity

780.52 Insomnia, moderate

 

Thank you for referring Mr/ Talbott. Please do not hesitate to contact me should I be able to be of further assistance.

 

Sincerely,

Signed,

William Harris, Psy D.

 

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