Psychological Correlates of Change in Emotion Regulation Over 8 Months of Psychotherapy
- 85 Downloads
Emotion regulation corresponds to the individual’s ability to identify and modulate emotional experiences and improvements thereof over the course of psychotherapy are associated with the reduction in psychiatric symptoms across multiple diagnoses. However, the extent to which changes in the capacity for emotion regulation over the course of therapy relate to individual differences in emotion-related self-perceptions, degree of psychiatric distress, and the reasons for seeking psychotherapy remain understudied. This study explored the relations between changes in the capacity for emotion regulation over 8 months of psychotherapy, as defined by all subscales of the Difficulties for Emotion Regulation Scale, trait emotional intelligence and psychological distress. In addition, this study examined whether changes in the capacity for emotion regulation differed between patients reporting at least one regulation treatment goal and those reporting other goals. Data were collected as part of an ongoing program evaluation at an urban community-based mental health clinic. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 74 patients prior to beginning psychotherapy and after completing 8 months of psychotherapy. We found that higher trait emotional intelligence and lower psychological distress were related to improvements in emotion regulation. Moreover, the capacity for emotion regulation, particularly emotional awareness and limited access to emotion regulation strategies, worsened among individuals who reported at least one regulation treatment goal relative to those who reported other goals. As such, an initial phase of psychotherapy that focuses on integrating skills and self-awareness of emotional sensations prior to or in conjunction with embarking on an open-ended exploratory treatment is recommended.
KeywordsTreatment goals Emotion regulation Trait emotional intelligence Psychotherapy Psychiatric distress
We would like to thank all members of the INTERSECT Lab whose contributions are invaluable to the success of the Psychotherapy Evaluation and Clinical Effectiveness (PEACE) Program.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Champely, S. (2006). The pwr package: Basic functions for power analysis. R package version 1.0.Google Scholar
- Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Derogatis, L. R. (1993). Brief symptom inventory (BSI): administration scoring and procedures manual (3rd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: National Computer Systems.Google Scholar
- Donohue, M. C., Gamst, A., C., & Edland, S. D. (2016). Package longpower: Sample size calculations for longitudinal data. R package version 1.0-16.Google Scholar
- Gratz, K. L., & Roemer, E. (2004). Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: Development, factor structure, and initial validation of the difficulties in emotion regulation scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26(1), 41–54. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-008-9102-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hallion, L. S., Steinbman, S. A., Tolin, D. F., & Dieenbach, G. J. (2018). Psychometric properties of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) and its short forms in adults with emotional disorders. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Holtforth, M. G., Wyss, T., Schulte, D., Trachsel, M., & Michalak, J. (2009). Some like it specific: The difference between treatment goals of anxious and depressed patients. The British Psychological Society, 82, 279–290.Google Scholar
- Linehan, M. (2015). DBT skills training manual (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Muth, C., Bales, K. L., Hinde, K., Maninger, N., Mendoza, S. P., & Ferrer, E. (2016). Alternative models for small samples in psychological research: Applying linear mixed effects and generalized estimating equations to repeated measures data. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 75(1), 64–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Neacsiu, A. D., Eberle, J. W., Kramer, R., Wiesman, T., & Linehan, M. M. (2014). Dialectical behavior therapy skills for transdiagnostic emotion dysregulation: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 59, 40–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2014.05.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Petrides, K. V., Stough, C., Saklofske, D. H., & Parker, J. D. (2009). Psychometric properties of the trait emotional intelligence questionnaire (TEIQue). Advances in the assessment of emotional intelligence. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- R Core Team. (2013). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.Google Scholar
- Sloan, E., Hall, K., Moulding, R., Bryce, S., Mildred, H., & Staifer, P. K. (2017). Emotion regulation as a transdiagnostic treatment construct across anxiety, depression, substance, eating, and borderline personality disorders: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 57, 141–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2017.09.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- StataCorp. (2015). Stata statistical software: Release 15. College Station, TX: StataCorp.Google Scholar