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Abstract

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.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Trait and Daily Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety Disorder
Dan V. Blalock
1
Todd B. Kashdan
1
Antonina S. Farmer
2
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
Introduction
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
danblalock19@gmail.com
&Todd B. Kashdan
tkashdan@gmu.edu
1
Department of Psychology, MS 3F5, George Mason
University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
2
Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA, USA
123
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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... 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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... 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.
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