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Emotion regulation strategies vary widely in use and effectiveness across psychological diagnostic categories. However, little data exists on (1) the use of these strategies in social anxiety disorder (SAD), and (2) how trait measures compare with actual daily use of emotion regulation strategies. We collected trait and daily assessments of emotion suppression, cognitive reappraisal, and positive and negative emotions from 40 adults with SAD and 39 matched healthy controls. Participants with SAD reported greater trait suppression and less cognitive reappraisal than healthy controls, and exhibited this same pattern of emotion regulation in daily life. Participants overall reported worse emotional experiences when suppressing positive (vs. negative) emotions, and better emotional experiences when reappraising to feel more positive (vs. less negative) emotions. However, SAD participants exhibited greater benefits (specifically increased positive emotions) from reappraising to feel less negative than healthy controls. These findings highlight the importance of positive emotion regulation strategies, particularly for individuals with SAD.
Trait and Daily Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety Disorder
Dan V. Blalock
Todd B. Kashdan
Antonina S. Farmer
Published online: 8 December 2015
ÓSpringer Science+Business Media New York 2015
Abstract Emotion regulation strategies vary widely in
use and effectiveness across psychological diagnostic cat-
egories. However, little data exists on (1) the use of these
strategies in social anxiety disorder (SAD), and (2) how
trait measures compare with actual daily use of emotion
regulation strategies. We collected trait and daily assess-
ments of emotion suppression, cognitive reappraisal, and
positive and negative emotions from 40 adults with SAD
and 39 matched healthy controls. Participants with SAD
reported greater trait suppression and less cognitive reap-
praisal than healthy controls, and exhibited this same pat-
tern of emotion regulation in daily life. Participants overall
reported worse emotional experiences when suppressing
positive (vs. negative) emotions, and better emotional
experiences when reappraising to feel more positive (vs.
less negative) emotions. However, SAD participants
exhibited greater benefits (specifically increased positive
emotions) from reappraising to feel less negative than
healthy controls. These findings highlight the importance
of positive emotion regulation strategies, particularly for
individuals with SAD.
Keywords Social anxiety disorder Emotion regulation
Negative emotions Positive emotions Experience
sampling methodology
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is the fourth most common
psychiatric disorder, with a lifetime prevalence rate of
12.1 % (Kessler et al. 2005). This disorder is associated
with significant impairment in social, occupational, and
daily functioning (Schneier et al. 1994). People with social
anxiety disorder (SAD) experience an intense, persistent
fear of having perceived flaws exposed in social situations,
leading to negative evaluations and ultimately, rejection
(Morrison and Heimberg 2013; Moscovitch 2009). This
intense and persistent fear fosters emotion hyper-reactivity
and dysregulation (Hermann et al. 2004; Hofmann, 2004).
Despite recent research on the differential perceptions of
emotion regulation strategy use across disorders (Aldao
et al. 2010; Hofmann et al. 2012), and in SAD specifically
(e.g., Kashdan et al. 2011), little has been done to examine
how these perceptions operate (or fail to operate) in daily
life. The current paper explores how ‘‘trait’’ perceptions of
emotion regulation differ in individuals with SAD versus
healthy controls, how these perceptions compare to emo-
tion regulation strategy use in daily life (‘‘states’’), and how
both are related to daily positive and negative emotions.
Cognitive Appraisals and Positive and Negative
Emotions in SAD
Emotion regulation generally refers to the ways by which
people influence which emotions are experienced, when
they are experienced, and how they are experienced and
expressed (Gross 1998). A host of research has examined
how tendencies to suppress or avoid emotions often out-
weigh tendencies to reappraise the causes for these emo-
tions when a triggering stressful event occurs and how
these tendencies (or diatheses) are shared among disorders
&Dan V. Blalock
&Todd B. Kashdan
Department of Psychology, MS 3F5, George Mason
University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA, USA
Cogn Ther Res (2016) 40:416–425
DOI 10.1007/s10608-015-9739-8
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... For example, the role of spontaneous ER in depression vulnerability has been emphasized based on the findings that individuals vulnerable to depression tend to spontaneously use more maladaptive ER strategies when watching an emotional film clips (Ehring et al., 2010;Quigley & Dobson, 2014). It has been underlined that emotion dysregulation experienced by people with high social anxiety also contributes to maintenance of the problem, and that the trait-and state-based ER might have different contributions (Blalock et al., 2016;Daniel et al., 2020). Taken together, these findings display the importance of the situational factors in the ER process and lead to the conclusion that the disposition to emotional disorders might be linked more with a problematic choice of ER strategies (Ehring et al., 2010;Gross & Muñoz, 1995;Quigley & Dobson, 2014). ...
... Despite the theoretical significance of statebased ER process, the measurement of this concept is one of the problematic issues. In most studies, situational ER is measured by administering the questionnaires prepared based on trait measurements in accordance with the purpose of the study after prompting the participants to a certain negative emotional state (e.g., Aldao, 2013;Blalock et al., 2016;Egloff et al., 2006;Ehring et al., 2010;Kneeland et al., 2016;Quigley & Dobson, 2014). Considering that trait-based assessment has some disadvantages in that being affected by the retrospective biases of individuals and not being sensitive to contextual situation (Goetz et al., 2020), preparing the measurements specific to state-based ER strategies could be useful in examining the interaction between environmental situations and emotional responses (Borges & Naugle, 2015). ...
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Recent studies emphasize the importance of state-based measurement of emotion regulation because of its context-sensitive and flexible background. In many studies, emotion regulation is measured as state-based as well as trait-based; however, only a few offers standard measurements. The State Emotion Regulation Inventory (SERI) and the State-Difficulties in Emotion Regulation (S-DERS) are standardized scales specifically designed for this purpose. Ultimately, the aim of this study was to adapt these scales into Turkish and investigate their psychometric properties using a laboratory-based emotion induction procedure. The data were collected from 167 undergraduate students. They first filled out trait-based scales, were then recruited to the stage of negative emotional state induction, and, finally, responded to the question in the SERI and the S-DERS to evaluate their emotion regulation experiences during the emotion induction phase. As a result, we confirmed the four-factor structures of the scales with good internal consistencies. While the SERI had weak associations with emotion dysregulation, thought control, and psychological distress, the S-DERS had strong relationships with these variables. Moreover, the incremental validities of the SERI and the S-DERS were acceptable when predicting both negative emotional state and psychological distress. Overall, our results suggest that the SERI and S-DERS are psychometrically valid and reliable measurements to assess state emotion regulation in Turkish speakers.
... While we know that people with SAD generally use avoidance (Dryman & Heimberg, 2018;Jazaieri et al., 2015), we know considerably less about how they implement a wider range of regulatory strategies across different situations. Second, trait and daily measures of regulatory strategies demonstrate surprisingly modest correlations with each other (Brockman et al., 2017;Todd et al., 2004)-including among people with SAD (Blalock et al., 2016)-suggesting that we might observe different patterns of regulation in daily life than have been observed with global questionnaires. Modest trait-state convergence raises questions about if and how trait and state measures assess different constructs (or different components of the same construct). ...
... e., expressive suppression) but similar use of engagement strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal, attentional deployment) in response to social anxiety provoking situations (Werner et al., 2011). In another study, participants with SAD used reappraisal to regulate daily negative emotions to the same degree as healthy adults (Blalock et al., 2016). ...
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Background Emotion regulation flexibility is a person's tendency to shift their use of emotion regulation strategies in response to contextual demands. A lack of flexibility is thought to underlie affective disorders, yet conceptualizations of “flexibility” vary widely, and few studies have empirically assessed flexibility. In this study, we outline methods for measuring emotion regulation flexibility and then examine evidence for inflexibility in people with a common affective disorder: social anxiety disorder (SAD). Methods Participants were community adults diagnosed with SAD and a psychologically healthycontrol group who completed a 14-day experience-sampling study. Participants recorded their most anxiety-provoking event each day, how they evaluated contextual demands (i.e., perceived controllability, emotional intensity) of these events, and their use of seven emotion regulation strategies to manage anxiety. Hypotheses and analyses were preregistered with the Open Science Framework ( Results Participants with SAD demonstrated some evidence of inflexibility. They used three disengagement strategies (rumination, thought suppression, expressive suppression) more often than controls and did so independently of contextual demands (specifically, perceived controllability). Nonetheless, participants with SAD largely demonstrated similar regulatory patterns as controls, most notably in their use of engagement strategies (acceptance, cognitive, reappraisal, problem-solving). Limitations We measured two of many possible contextual demands, did not compare to a mixed clinical group or other affective disorders (e.g., depression), and did not assess temporal sequences of strategy use. Conclusions People with SAD demonstrate some inflexibility in their use of disengagement regulation strategies.
... CR and ES are implicated in theories of SAD (Goldin et al., 2014), which describe negative self-appraisal (Hofmann, 2007) and attempts to conceal expressions of emotion . Researchers have proposed that CR and ES in particular play a role in SAD/MDD comorbidity (Dryman & Heimberg, 2018) on the basis of self-report, behavioral, and physiological evidence that both SAD and MDD are associated with less frequent use of CR and more frequent use of ES compared to healthy controls (Blalock et al., 2016;D'Avanzato et al., 2013;Jazaieri et al., 2017;Kinney et al., 2019;Kivity & Huppert, 2018). Comorbidity of SAD and MDD may depend on the use of CR and ES. ...
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Comorbidity of social anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder is common and bears a worse prognosis than either disorder alone. Emotion regulation strategies, such as cognitive reappraisal (CR), expressive suppression (ES), and their interaction may impact the association of social anxiety with depression symptoms. Path analysis was used to examine how CR and ES may interact to predict the association of social anxiety with depression in a large, multi-university sample (N = 9,750). There was a three-way interaction of CR, ES, and social anxiety predicting depression. CR weakened the association of social anxiety with depression at low levels of ES. ES weakened the social anxiety/depression relation at low CR, and ES strengthened the association at high levels of CR. Compared to low levels of both strategies, high levels of either emotion regulation strategy paired with low levels of the other weakened the social anxiety/depression association. Compared to high or low levels of both strategies, high CR with low ES was associated with a weaker relation between social anxiety and depression. The association of social anxiety and depression symptoms, hence their comorbidity, may depend in part on the interaction of CR and ES. ES may interfere with the resilience to comorbidity provided by CR. Either CR or ES may convey resilience compared to using neither strategy.
... The average decrease in perceived emotional regulation could also have increased in accordance with the emotional and cognitive maturation that occurs during adolescence (Herd et al., 2020). The strong emotional activation in puberty may hinder adequate reappraisal of immediate situations (Blalock et al., 2016). Despite cognitive maturation, adolescents may be less likely to reappraise events and may also be less experienced (Lennarz et al., 2019). ...
... Another noteworthy point is that even though the original scale was developed using a non-clinical sample, an increasing number of studies have utilized the ERQ to examine the specific impairment in emotion regulation within different mental disorders. [17][18][19][20] Recent studies using the ERQ include individuals with experience of trauma or posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, [21][22][23][24] eating disorders, 25,26 bipolar disorders, 27 social anxiety disorder, 28 and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 29 However, the psychometric properties of the ERQ in the clinical setting have not been fully verified yet. ...
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Objective: The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) is one of the widely used instruments to assess emotion regulation skills in many countries, including Korea. However, its psychometric properties have not been validated within this population. Also, the ERQ has increasingly been used in studies with psychiatric patients despite a general lack of validation in clinical settings. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the psychometric properties of the Korean version of the ERQ (K-ERQ) using a clinical sample in Korea. Methods: One hundred and ninety-three psychiatric patients completed a packet of self-report measures, including K-ERQ, K-BDI-II, K-ASI-3, PCL-5-K, AUDIT-K. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was administered to investigate the factor structure of the K-ERQ, and internal reliability and validity were examined. Results: Results of the CFA supported the two-factor structure, but only after the removal of one item. The K-ERQ showed good internal consistency reliability, and its concurrent validity was also confirmed. Cognitive reappraisal was negatively correlated with depression and alcohol use disorder-related symptoms, and expressive suppression was positively correlated with depression, anxiety sensitivity, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-related symptoms and alcohol use disorder-related symptoms. Significant group differences were found in the use of emotion regulation strategies; patients with PTSD reported the higher level of cognitive reappraisal than patients with depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Conclusion: The 9-itemed K-ERQ is a reliable and valid tool to assess the emotion regulation strategies in a Korean clinical sample. Our study also adds preliminary evidence on the usefulness of the ERQ in clinical settings.
... Reappraisal can relieve discomfort in many situations as it consists of reframing the meaning of a situation in positive terms, which changes the person's judgment of that situation [18]. As a result, reappraisal has a beneficial effect on affect, self-esteem, and adjustment [19] as well as causing individuals to experience more positive emotions and less negative ones [20]. On the other hand, rumination involves thinking repeatedly about a negative event or emotion [21]. ...
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This study explored the association between temperament—i.e., positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA)—and emotion regulation (ER), and what momentary factors influence the selection of rumination or reappraisal during adolescents’ daily life. The type of social situation in which negative events occurred, the self-rated degrees of discomfort, the types of predominant emotions experienced, and the use of reappraisal and rumination were assessed at 24 different times with an ecological momentary assessment approach given to 71 adolescents. PA, NA, and ER style were evaluated using self-reports. Bivariate Pearson correlations analysis revealed that NA and negative ER style correlated positively with the rumination use whereas PA correlated negatively with the rumination use. Negative ER style moderated the relationship between NA and the frequency with which rumination was used. The moderated function of positive ER style could not be tested due to its lack of association with the rumination use. Adolescents selected rumination more often during family-related events and when experiencing depression-like emotions. No interaction effects were shown between negative ER style and the momentary factors related with the type of social situation and the type of prevailing emotion during negative event. No associations between study variables and reappraisal were found. This study provides a better understanding of ER patterns in adolescence.
Introduction: The current studies examined how smartphone-assessed contextual features (i.e., location, time-of-day, social situation, and affect) contribute to the relative likelihood of emotion regulation strategy endorsement in daily life. Methods: Emotion regulation strategy endorsement and concurrent contextual features were assessed either passively (e.g., via GPS coordinates) or via self-report among unselected (Study 1: N = 112; duration = 2 weeks) and socially anxious (Study 2: N = 106; duration = 5 weeks) young adults. Results: An analysis of 2,891 (Study 1) and 12,289 (Study 2) mobile phone survey responses indicated small differences in rates of emotion regulation strategy endorsement across location (e.g., home vs. work/education settings), time-of-day (e.g., afternoon vs. evening), time-of-week (i.e., weekdays vs. weekends) and social context (e.g., with others vs. alone). However, emotion regulation patterns differed markedly depending on the set of emotion regulation strategies examined, which likely partly explains some inconsistent results across the studies. Also, many observed effects were no longer significant after accounting for state affect in the models. Discussion: Results demonstrate how contextual information collected with relatively low (or no) participant burden can add to our understanding of emotion regulation in daily life, yet it is important to consider state affect alongside other contextual features when drawing conclusions about how people regulate their emotions.
Suppression (i.e., inhibiting one's emotional expression) has typically been associated with social and physiological costs. However, recent theorizing calls into question the inevitability of these costs. The present study takes a more nuanced approach and examines the social and physiological correlates of spontaneous (i.e., uninstructed) suppression when considering two potentially critical factors: the valence of the suppressed emotions (i.e., negative vs. positive) and the valence of the emotional context in which emotions are suppressed (i.e., negative conversation vs. positive conversation). Specifically, dating couples (N = 196 couples) completed both a negatively-valenced and a positively-valenced conversation in the laboratory while their autonomic-physiological responses were recorded. After each conversation, participants rated 1) the extent to which they had suppressed their negative and positive emotions, 2) the quality of the conversation, and 3) how connected they felt with their partner. We used Actor-Partner Interdependence Models to estimate actor effects (e.g., association of one's own suppression and one's own connectedness) and partner effects (e.g., association of one's partner's suppression and one's own connectedness). Suppression was associated with lower conversation quality and connectedness for the actors but largely not for the partners, regardless of the valence of the suppressed emotions and of the context, even when adjusting for felt emotion. Additionally, suppression was consistently not associated with physiological responses of actors or partners. Together, these findings suggest that, during emotional conversations with one's romantic partner, spontaneous (unlike instructed) suppression is associated with social but not physiological costs for the self but not one's partner.
To better understand how social anxiety develops, it is crucial to identify mechanisms that influence anxiety following social stressors. Anxiety sensitivity social concerns (ASSC; fear of publicly observable anxiety symptoms) and fear of negative evaluation (FNE; distress arising from concerns about negative judgment) are constructs that amplify anxiety following social stressors. However, it is unclear how ASSC and FNE influence acute anxiety following stressors in naturalistic settings. In the current study, the impact of ASSC and FNE on anxious arousal and anxious apprehension following stressors was examined in community adults (N = 83; M age = 29.66 years, SD = 12.49, 59.0% female) who completed questionnaires five times per day for two-weeks. Dynamic structural equation modeling was used to examine predictors of overall levels of anxiety as well as anxiety following social and nonsocial stressors. ASSC interacted with the presence of social stressors, such that ASSC positively predicted anxious arousal following social stressors. FNE interacted with the presence of nonsocial stressors to predict both forms of anxiety, such that FNE positively predicted anxiety following nonsocial stressors. These findings suggest ASSC may specifically amplify anxious arousal following social stressors, whereas FNE may broadly amplify anxiety following nonsocial stressors.
Purpose Due to ongoing significant life changes during the transition into higher education, social anxiety can be problematic, especially for college students. It has adverse effects on various aspects of one’s life, including one’s feelings and emotions. The study investigated the interplay between social anxiety and emotions and its impact on affect. The aim of this study is to examine the role of difficulties in emotion regulation in the relationship between social anxiety and change in affect. Design/methodology/approach This is a longitudinal study. Data was collected with self-report instruments at two time points with a gap of four months. Participants were Indian undergraduate students from a technical institute. Findings The result revealed that high social anxiety in tandem with difficulties engaging in goal-directed behavior significantly impacts changes in positive affect. However, this effect was significant only in the presence of depression. Research limitations/implications This study highlights the harmful impact of comorbid issues such as depression in socially anxious individuals. The present study might have implications for educators and clinicians working with college students. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the only study to test the proposed research model in a sample of Indian college students. The use of a moderated moderation analysis with the three regulation strategies and depression also adds to the uniqueness of this study.
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This review organizes a variety of phenomena related to emotional self-report. In doing so, the authors offer an accessibility model that specifies the types of factors that contribute to emotional self-reports under different reporting conditions. One important distinction is between emotion, which is episodic, experiential, and contextual, and beliefs about emotion, which are semantic, conceptual, and decontextualized. This distinction is important in understanding the discrepancies that often occur when people are asked to report on feelings they are currently experiencing versus those that they are not currently experiencing. The accessibility model provides an organizing framework for understanding self-reports of emotion and suggests some new directions for research.
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Many psychiatric disorders are widely thought to involve problematic patterns of emotional reactivity and emotion regulation. Unfortunately, it has proven far easier to assert the centrality of “emotion dysregulation” than to rigorously document the ways in which individuals with various forms of psychopathology differ from healthy individuals in their patterns of emotional reactivity and emotion regulation. In the first section of this article, we define emotion and emotion regulation. In the second and third sections, we present a simple framework for examining emotion and emotion regulation in psychopathology. In the fourth section, we conclude by highlighting important challenges and opportunities in assessing and treating disorders that involve problematic patterns of emotion and emotion regulation.
Given recent attention to emotion regulation as a potentially unifying function of diverse symptom presentations, there is a need for comprehensive measures that adequately assess difficulties in emotion regulation among adults. This paper (a) proposes an integrative conceptualization of emotion regulation as involving not just the modulation of emotional arousal, but also the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of emotions, and the ability to act in desired ways regardless of emotional state; and (b) begins to explore the factor structure and psychometric properties of a new measure, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). Two samples of undergraduate students completed questionnaire packets. Preliminary findings suggest that the DERS has high internal consistency, good test–retest reliability, and adequate construct and predictive validity.
Three experience-sampling studies explored the distributions of Big-Five-relevant states (behavior) across 2 to 3 weeks of everyday life. Within-person variability was high, such that the typical individual regularly and routinely manifested nearly all levels of all traits in his or her everyday behavior. Second, individual differences in central tendencies of behavioral distributions were almost perfectly stable. Third, amount of behavioral variability (and skew and kurtosis) were revealed as stable individual differences. Finally, amount of within-person variability in extraversion was shown to reflect individual differences in reactivity to extraversion-relevant situational cues. Thus, decontextualized and noncontingent Big-Five content is highly useful for descriptions of individuals' density distributions as wholes. Simultaneously, contextualized and contingent personality units (e.g., conditional traits, goals) are needed for describing the considerable within-person variation.
Social anxiety impacts functional impairment in several life domains; in children, the most notable effect is a decline in academic performance. Socially anxious children report that communicating with peers and teachers, as well as public speaking are their biggest fears in academic settings. Prior research has shown that these children attribute a lack of academic achievement to difficulties communicating interpersonally or publicly. For apprehensive children, many resources are devoted to interventions at the individual level, with little consideration given to their environment - the classroom. The current study examined the association between communication apprehension, social features of the classroom environment, and academic outcomes - current achievement and future ambitions. Three out of four classroom environmental factors (promoting interaction, promoting respect, and teacher support) buffered the negative effects of communication apprehension on current academic achievement. Interestingly, these same factors increased the negative effects of communication apprehension on future academic ambition (intentions to attend college). Implications for the mixed results of a classroom environment that encourages communication are discussed.
Using outpatients with anxiety and mood disorders (N = 350), the authors tested several models of the structural relationships of dimensions of key features of selected emotional disorders and dimensions of the tripartite model of anxiety and depression. Results supported the discriminant validity of the 5 symptom domains examined (mood disorders; generalized anxiety disorder, GAD; panic disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; social phobia). Of various structural models evaluated, the best fitting involved a structure consistent with the tripartite model (e.g., the higher order factors, negative affect and positive affect, influenced emotional disorder factors in the expected manner). The latent factor, GAD, influenced the latent factor, autonomic arousal, in a direction consistent with recent laboratory findings (autonomic suppression); Findings are discussed in the context of the growing literature on higher order trait dimensions (e.g., negative affect) that may be of considerable importance to the understanding of the pathogenesis, course, and co-occurrence of emotional disorders.
To understand positive emotion regulation, researchers and practitioners must consider a person's unique motivation for specific behaviors within each situation rather than making sweeping (and ultimately inaccurate) generalizations. Two myths about the notion of positive emotion regulation are addressed. Our thesis is that systematic and concerted attention to context will ensure that the wisdom of emotion regulation is more accessible, generalizable, and useful.