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13-05-2016 | Uitgave 4/2016

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 4/2016

Validation of a Brief Version of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS-18) in Five Samples

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 4/2016
Sarah E. Victor, E. David Klonsky


The field of affective clinical science has expanded dramatically over the past several decades (Rottenberg and Gross 2003; Tracy et al. 2014). An important part of this research is understanding emotion regulation and dysregulation, in particular, how individuals differ in their ability to identify, accept, and manage their emotional experiences. One of the most common and widely cited measures of emotion dysregulation is the Difficulties with Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS; Gratz and Roemer 2004), which has been extensively used to facilitate understanding of how emotion dysregulation is associated with psychiatric symptoms, other emotion-related constructs, and treatment progress. While this scale has contributed greatly to our understanding of emotion regulation problems, its length makes its inclusion in brief study protocols difficult, limiting its utility and increasing participant burden. In order to address this issue, we developed a short form version of the DERS (DERS-18) composed of the strongest items from each of the measure’s six subscales from the original DERS publication (Gratz and Roemer 2004), and then validated this measure in five datasets that vary in age and sample type. Our results demonstrate that an 18-item short-form of the DERS exhibits a similar structure as the original 36-item DERS, demonstrates excellent reliability and validity, and performs similarly to the original DERS despite comprising half the items. The DERS-18 has the potential to improve and expand emotion regulation assessment while reducing demands on research participants.

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