How to handle anxiety: The effects of reappraisal, acceptance, and suppression strategies on anxious arousal. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47, 389-394

Department of Psychology, Boston University, 648 Beacon Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02215-2002, USA.
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 03/2009; 47(5):389-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2009.02.010
Source: PubMed


It has been suggested that reappraisal strategies are more effective than suppression strategies for regulating emotions. Recently, proponents of the acceptance-based behavior therapy movement have further emphasized the importance of acceptance-based emotion regulation techniques. In order to directly compare these different emotion regulation strategies, 202 volunteers were asked to give an impromptu speech in front of a video camera. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The Reappraisal group was instructed to regulate their anxious arousal by reappraising the situation; the Suppression group was asked to suppress their anxious behaviors; and the Acceptance group was instructed to accept their anxiety. As expected, the Suppression group showed a greater increase in heart rate from baseline than the Reappraisal and Acceptance groups. Moreover, the Suppression group reported more anxiety than the Reappraisal group. However, the Acceptance and Suppression groups did not differ in their subjective anxiety response. These results suggest that both reappraising and accepting anxiety is more effective for moderating the physiological arousal than suppressing anxiety. However, reappraising is more effective for moderating the subjective feeling of anxiety than attempts to suppress or accept it.

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    • "A small number of studies have directly compared the effectiveness of reappraisal and acceptance. Studies have demonstrated a benefit for both acceptance and reappraisal (used as an antecedent-focused strategy) in downregulating subjective and physiological indicators of negative affect (Hofmann et al. 2009; Wolgast et al. 2011), with some studies finding a benefit for reappraisal over acceptance (Hofmann et al. 2009; Szasz et al. 2011). Notably, the type of acceptance training provided in the latter studies involved instructions to simply accept one's thoughts and emotions, without including a rationale to the instructions. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study examined the relative effects of mindful acceptance and reappraisal on metacognitive attitudes and beliefs in relation to rumination and negative experiences. A small but growing literature has compared the effects of these strategies on immediate emotional experience but little work has examined the broader, metacognitive impact of these strategies, such as maladaptive beliefs about rumination. One hundred and twenty-nine participants who reported elevated symptoms of depression were randomly assigned to receive brief training in mindful acceptance, reappraisal, or no training prior to undergoing an autobiographical sad mood induction. Participants rated their beliefs in relation to rumination and negative experiences before and after instructions to engage in mood regulation. Results showed that relative to reappraisal or no training, training in mindful acceptance resulted in greater decreases in maladaptive beliefs about rumination. The study suggests that training in mindful acceptance promotes beneficial changes in metacognitive attitudes and beliefs relevant to depression, and contributes to a greater understanding of the mechanisms through which mindfulness-based interventions lead to positive outcomes.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Mindfulness
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    • "Studies have examined the beneficial effects of cognitive reappraisal on self-reported symptoms (e.g., Garnefski and Kraaij 2006), yet have not examined these tendencies in combination with measures of emotional reactivity. Cognitive reappraisal may be particularly important during times of stress, yet little research examines the effects of cognitive reappraisal in paradigms that include a stressor (Hofmann et al. 2009; Troy et al. 2010) to examine whether the tendency to reappraise modulates the effects of emotionality on symptom presentation. Indeed, in their call to advance the field of affective science , Tracy et al. (2014) suggest that research should employ multiple measures of emotional reactivity, focus on the time course of emotional response including rise and return to baseline, assess multiple types of emotion regulation , distinguish between reactivity and regulation, and elucidate disorder-specific patterns of emotional processes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Emotion dysregulation has been associated with increases in many forms of psychopathology in adolescents and adults. The development of effective emotion regulation skills is important during adolescence, especially as stressful life events increase during this time. The current study examined two emotion regulation strategies, cognitive reappraisal and affective suppression, in interaction with self-report and biological measures of emotional reactivity as predictors of internalizing symptoms. A community sample of adolescents (n = 127), at an age of risk for depression and anxiety, completed self-report measures of emotional reactivity and internalizing symptoms. In addition, they completed a modified social stress task and were assessed on biological measures of reactivity and regulation. Findings suggested that the trait tendency to reappraise was associated with a reduced impact of emotional reactivity on depressive, but not anxiety symptoms. Implications for shared and specific aspects of emotional reactivity and regulation are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Cognitive Therapy and Research
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    • "The lack of any active control condition is also a concern, as the inclusion of such a baseline may help to clarify the inconsistent findings from previous studies (Aldao & Mennin, 2012) and facilitate interpretations of effectiveness comparisons (Dunn et al., 2009). This is also reflected in the asymmetry that exists within the comparison of emotion outcomes; most studies focus on subjective experience and physiology (e.g., Campbell-Sills et al., 2006a; Wolgast et al., 2011; Szasz et al., 2011), but rarely on behavior (e.g., Hofmann et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and objectives: Few studies related to the impact of different emotion regulation strategies on anxiety have used externally and ecologically valid emotion-eliciting stimuli or Eastern populations. The present study compares the effects of reappraisal, suppression, and acceptance on anxiety induced by a simulated job interview in a Chinese sample. Methods: Eighty-two subjects were randomly assigned to one of four instructions: reappraisal, suppression, acceptance, or no-regulation strategies during a simulated job interview. Anxiety was assessed with an observer-based behavior rating scale during the interview and the State Anxiety Inventory before, during, and after the interview. Results: A repeated-measures MANOVA indicated a significantly greater reduction in anxiety in the reappraisal and acceptance groups displayed a greater amount of anxiety reduction compared to the control group during the interview (reappraisal: d=1.42; acceptance: d=1.30; each p < .001), but not during the recovery stage. The suppression and control group did not differ in any stage. Suppression led to a higher (pmax < .04) anxiety than reappraisal/acceptance in the anticipation (d=0.65/0.68), interview (d=0.87/0.79), and recovery stages (d=0.94/1.03). No significant differences were found between reappraisal and acceptance. Conclusions: In Chinese students reappraisal and acceptance seem to be more effective anxiety regulation strategies than suppression.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Anxiety Stress & Coping
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