Emotion regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 217-237

Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Clinical psychology review (Impact Factor: 7.18). 11/2009; 30(2):217-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.11.004
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We examined the relationships between six emotion-regulation strategies (acceptance, avoidance, problem solving, reappraisal, rumination, and suppression) and symptoms of four psychopathologies (anxiety, depression, eating, and substance-related disorders). We combined 241 effect sizes from 114 studies that examined the relationships between dispositional emotion regulation and psychopathology. We focused on dispositional emotion regulation in order to assess patterns of responding to emotion over time. First, we examined the relationship between each regulatory strategy and psychopathology across the four disorders. We found a large effect size for rumination, medium to large for avoidance, problem solving, and suppression, and small to medium for reappraisal and acceptance. These results are surprising, given the prominence of reappraisal and acceptance in treatment models, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and acceptance-based treatments, respectively. Second, we examined the relationship between each regulatory strategy and each of the four psychopathology groups. We found that internalizing disorders were more consistently associated with regulatory strategies than externalizing disorders. Lastly, many of our analyses showed that whether the sample came from a clinical or normative population significantly moderated the relationships. This finding underscores the importance of adopting a multi-sample approach to the study of psychopathology.

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Available from: Amelia Aldao, Dec 23, 2014
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    • "The observed pattern of increased DMN core subsystem recruitment, demonstrated by suppressors on these trials, raise the possibility that in real life, interpersonal encounters may trigger among suppressors the pattern of self-referential ruminative thinking that has been linked to both depression and anxiety-related disorders (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2000). Future studies that would include assessments of ruminative thinking and habitual expressive suppression use as well as recording of brain activity during social interactions are needed to shed light on whether social situations constitute a core domain underlying the link between habitual expressive suppression use and mood-related psychopathology (Aldao et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Optimal social functioning occasionally requires concealment of one's emotions in order to meet one's immediate goals and environmental demands. However, because emotions serve an important communicative function, their habitual suppression disrupts the flow of social exchanges and, thus, incurs significant interpersonal costs. Evidence is accruing that the disruption in social interactions, linked to habitual expressive suppression use, stems not only from intrapersonal, but also from interpersonal causes, since the suppressors' restricted affective displays reportedly inhibit their interlocutors' emotionally expressive behaviors. However, expressive suppression use is not known to lead to clinically significant social impairments. One explanation may be that over the lifespan, individuals who habitually suppress their emotions come to compensate for their interlocutors' restrained expressive behaviors by developing an increased sensitivity to nonverbal affective cues. To probe this issue, the present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan healthy older women while they viewed silent videos of a male social target displaying nonverbal emotional behavior, together with a brief verbal description of the accompanying context, and then judged the target’s affect. As predicted, perceivers who reported greater habitual use of expressive suppression showed increased neural processing of nonverbal affective cues. This effect appeared to be coordinated in a top-down manner via cognitive control. Greater neural processing of nonverbal cues among perceivers who habitually suppress their emotions was linked to increased ventral striatum activity, suggestive of increased reward value/personal relevance ascribed to emotionally expressive nonverbal behaviors. These findings thus provide neural evidence broadly consistent with the hypothesized link between habitual use of expressive suppression and compensatory development of increased responsiveness to nonverbal affective cues, while also suggesting one explanation for the suppressors' poorer cognitive performance in social situations. Moreover, our results point to a potential neural mechanism supporting the development and perpetuation of expressive suppression as an emotion regulation strategy.
    Neuropsychologia 09/2015; In press. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.09.013 · 3.30 Impact Factor
    • "Emotion regulation (ER) abilities develop throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood (Thompson and Meyer, 2007). Relative impairments in ER are a marker of maladaptive social and occupational functioning, and a risk factor for psychopathology (Aldao et al., 2010). Understanding the etiology of problems with ER is therefore of critical importance (Campbell-Sills and Barlow, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals exposed to childhood adversities (CA) present with emotion regulation (ER) difficulties in later life, which have been identified as risk and maintenance factors for psychopathologies. However, it is unclear if CA negatively impacts on ER capacity per se or whether observed regulation difficulties are a function of the challenging circumstances in which ER is being deployed. In this longitudinal study we aimed to clarify this association by investigating the behavioral and neural effects of exposure to common moderate CA (mCA) on a laboratory measure of ER capacity in late adolescence/young adulthood.Our population-derived sample of adolescents/young adults (N=53) were administered a film-based ER-task during functional magnetic resonance imaging that allowed evaluation of ER across mCA-exposure.mCA-exposure was associated with enhanced ER capacity over both positive and negative affect. At the neural level, the better ER of negative material in those exposed to mCA was associated with reduced recruitment of ER-related brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and temporal gyrus. Additionally mCA-exposure was associated with a greater down-regulation of the amygdala during ER of negative material.The implications of these findings for our understanding of the effects of mCA on the emergence of resilience in adolescence are discussed. © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 09/2015; DOI:10.1093/scan/nsv109 · 7.37 Impact Factor
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    • "Although coping strategies are not intrinsically negative or positive, depression is frequently associated with the endorsement of lower levels of problem-focused coping and higher levels of emotion-focused coping (Matheson and Anisman, 2003). For instance, depressive disorders have been tied to greater levels of rumination (Aldao et al., 2010) and emotional containment (Ravindran et al., 2002), as well as decreased social support seeking (Matheson and Anisman, 2003) and reduced use of cognitive restructuring (Ravindran et al., 2002). Given that A carriers are less apt to use social support as a means of coping, and benefit less from this coping method, it is possible that the presence of the OXTR SNP might favor the adoption of a relatively narrow range of effective coping strategies (i.e., those that do not rely on social support resources). "
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    ABSTRACT: Oxytocin is a hormone that is thought to influence prosocial behaviors and may be important in modulating responses to both positive and negative social interactions. Indeed, a single nucleotide polymorphism, rs53576, of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) has been associated with decreased trust, empathy, optimism, and social support seeking, which are important components of coping with stressors. In the current study, conducted among undergraduate students (N = 225), it was shown that parental and peer social support was related to fewer depressive symptoms through elevated problem-focused coping and lower emotion-focused coping, and these effects were independent of the OXTR polymorphism. Unsupportive social interactions from parents were associated with more severe depressive symptoms through the greater use of emotion-focused coping, and this relation was moderated by the OXTR genotype. Specifically, individuals who carried the polymorphism on one or both of their alleles demonstrated increased emotion-focused coping following unsupportive responses compared to those without the polymorphism. Likewise, lower problem-focused coping mediated the relation between parental and peer unsupportive responses to depressive symptoms, but this mediated relation was only evident among carriers of the polymorphism. These findings suggest that carrying this OXTR polymorphism might favor disadvantageous coping styles in the face of negative social interactions, which in turn are linked to poor mood. Regardless of genotype, parental, and peer social support are fundamental in determining stress-related coping and well-being.
    Frontiers in Psychology 08/2015; 6:1133. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01133 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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