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28-09-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2021

Cognitive Therapy and Research 1/2021

Daily-Life Negative Affect in Emotional Distress Disorders Associated with Altered Frontoinsular Emotion Regulation Activation and Cortical Gyrification

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 1/2021
Jessica P. Y. Hua, Timothy J. Trull, Anne M. Merrill, Oriana T. T. Myers, Kelsey T. Straub, John G. Kerns
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10608-020-10155-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Emotional distress disorders are characterized by high daily-life negative affect and impaired positive reappraisal emotion regulation ability. These disorders have been associated with altered frontoinsular functioning in important emotion regulation regions, especially medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) and insula, and with structural abnormalities that could be indicative of aberrant underlying connectivity. However, the relationship between frontoinsular activation and structural morphometry with daily-life negative affect is unclear.


Using multimodal neuroimaging and ambulatory assessment, individuals with emotional distress disorders (n = 27) completed a positive reappraisal emotion regulation task during scanning and subsequently reported on their daily-life negative affect repeatedly for two weeks.


Increased daily-life negative affect was associated with increased medial PFC positive reappraisal activation. In contrast, increased daily-life negative affect was associated with decreased positive reappraisal activation in the left insula and cognitive flexibility regions (putamen and cerebellum). Additionally, increased daily-life negative affect was associated with left insula hypergyria and right posterior/inferior parietal hypogyria. Follow-up psychophysiological interactions analyses found increased daily-life negative affect associated with increased medial PFC-insula functional connectivity during positive reappraisal.


Results suggest frontoinsular emotion regulation activation and gyrification abnormalities could be markers of increased daily-life negative affect and important treatment targets for emotional distress disorders.

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