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11-04-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2017

Cognitive Therapy and Research 3/2017

Remembering the Good Ole Days: Fear of Positive Emotion Relates to Affect Repair Using Positive Memories

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 3/2017
W. Michael Vanderlind, Colin H. Stanton, Anna Weinbrecht, Elizabeth A. Velkoff, Jutta Joormann


Recalling positive autobiographical memories is a powerful strategy to repair affect. Positive memory recall operates as a reparative strategy by enhancing positive affect, which facilitates the down-regulation of negative affect. There are individual differences, however, in the ability to use positive material to repair mood. Participants with elevated depression scores, for example, are less likely to profit from this strategy. Depression has been associated with elevated fear of positive emotion and the current study examined whether elevated fear of positive emotion is associated with depression-related difficulties in mood repair. Ninety-four participants first underwent a mood repair task in which a sad mood induction was followed by a cue to recall positive autobiographical memories. Subjective measures of state happiness and sadness were collected across the mood induction and positive memory recall procedures. Results revealed that greater fear of positive emotion was linked to less ability to enhance positive affect and down-regulate negative affect using positive memories. Results also provided preliminary support for a mediation model in which greater depressive symptoms predicted elevated fear of positive emotion, which in turn predicted less ability to repair positive affect. These findings highlight fear of positive emotion as a potential target for interventions aimed at improving affect regulation.

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