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16-07-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2016

Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2016

Interactions Between Reappraisal and Emotional Nonacceptance in Psychopathology: Examining Disability and Depression Symptoms in Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 6/2016
Andre J. Plate, Amelia Aldao, Jean M. Quintero, Douglas S. Mennin


Recent research has emphasized the importance of studying the interaction between adaptive and maladaptive emotion regulation strategies in predicting mental health. In this respect, putatively maladaptive strategies (e.g., avoidance) have been found to moderate the link between putatively adaptive strategies (e.g., reappraisal) and psychopathology symptoms (e.g., Aldao and Nolen-Hoeksema in J Abnorm Psychol 121(1):276–281, 2012; Aldao et al. in J Anxiety Disord 28(4):382–389, 2014). Moreover, this line of work suggests that the direction of this moderation might vary as a function of symptom severity. However, research has yet to: (1) simultaneously examine how this interaction differs between clinical and non-clinical groups, and (2) test the interaction between specific emotion regulation strategies rather than composite scores of adaptive and maladaptive strategies. Doing so is essential in order to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the disturbances in the use of emotion regulation strategies in psychopathology. To that end, we investigated the interaction between reappraisal and emotional nonacceptance in participants diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and non-anxious controls. In the GAD group, there was a negative association between reappraisal and disability only when the use of nonacceptance was low, suggesting that the use of maladaptive strategies might interfere with the benefits typically associated with utilizing adaptive strategies. In the non-anxious group, there was a negative association between reappraisal and disability and depression symptoms, only when the use of nonacceptance was high, likely reflecting a compensatory and flexible use of regulation strategies. These findings highlight the importance of modeling interactions between specific emotion regulation strategies when seeking to understand their relationship to psychological functioning in GAD.

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