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09-12-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2020

Cognitive Therapy and Research 2/2020

Beliefs About Emotions, Negative Meta-emotions, and Perceived Emotional Control During an Emotionally Salient Situation in Individuals with Emotional Disorders

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 2/2020
Răzvan Predatu, Daniel O. David, Antonio Maffei
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10608-019-10064-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Research has highlighted that emotion regulation (ER) difficulties are common in individuals with emotional disorders (ED). However, most studies were limited to non-clinical (NC) samples and focused on specific strategies to control emotions. Also, few studies investigated these difficulties “in-the-moment”. Thus, the current study aimed to investigate ER difficulties in individuals with ED that are usually neglected, such as difficulties in how they appraise their emotions (beliefs about emotions). Moreover, we examined the mediator role of irrational/dysfunctional beliefs about emotions in relation to the experience of negative meta-emotions and low perceived control of emotions. A number of 36 individuals with ED and 50 NC completed an emotion-provoking autobiographical recall task while their negative emotions, cardiac activity, beliefs about emotions, negative meta-emotions and perceived emotional control were assessed. Results indicated that compared to non-clinical controls, individuals with ED showed more irrational beliefs about emotions, more negative meta-emotions, and poorer perceived control of emotions. Also, our results showed that these irrational beliefs about emotions were further related to an increased level of negative meta-emotions and to a decreased perceived control of emotions. Finally, negative meta-emotions were differentially associated in the two groups with the control of heart rate by the two branches of the autonomous nervous system. Thus, individuals with ED may have difficulties in appraising emotions, which further expose them to maladjustment.

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