Savoring as Mediator Between Irrational Beliefs, Depression, and Joy

  • Diana G. CăzănescuEmail author
  • Lucia Tecuta
  • Diana M. Cândea
  • Aurora Szentagotai-TătarEmail author


While much of the research on emotion regulation has focused on negative emotion regulation and its relationship with psychopathology, there is also increasing evidence that the regulation of positive emotions may be in some instances problematic. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between irrational beliefs, as described in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, savoring, depression and joy. Data were collected from a sample of 276 individuals. Participants filled in online the following questionnaires: ABS-2, DASS-21, SBI and DPES. Of the four irrational beliefs (i.e., demandingness, awfulizing, frustration intolerance, and self/other downing), self/other downing explained the highest variance of savoring. Mediation analyses revealed that savoring was a mediator in the relation between self/other downing and depression, as well as in the relation between self/other downing and joy. The presence of irrational beliefs is a strong negative predictor of savoring, indicating that positive emotion regulation is influenced by irrational beliefs, particularly by self/other downing. In its turs, savoring has a significant impact on depressive symptoms and positive emotions (i.e., joy).


Irrational beliefs Savoring Positive emotions Depression Joy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest regard this research.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Ethics Committee of the Scientific Research Council of Department of Babes-Bolyai University. Informed consent was obtained from each participant.


  1. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182. Scholar
  2. Berking, M., & Wupperman, P. (2012). Emotion regulation and mental health. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 25(2), 128–134. Scholar
  3. Bridges, K. R., & Harnish, R. J. (2010). Role of irrational beliefs in depression and anxiety: A review. Health, 02(08), 862–877. Scholar
  4. Bryant, F. B. (1989). A four-factor model of perceived control: Avoiding, coping, obtaining, and savoring. Journal of Personality, 57(4), 773–797. Scholar
  5. Bryant, F. (2003). Savoring Beliefs Inventory (SBI): A scale for measuring beliefs about savouring. Journal of Mental Health, 12(2), 175–196. Scholar
  6. Bryant, F. B., Smart, C. M., & King, S. P. (2005). Using the past to enhance the present: boosting happiness through positive reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 227–260. Scholar
  7. Bryant, F. B., & Veroff, J. (2017). Savoring: A new model of positive experience. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  8. Carl, J. R., Soskin, D. P., Kerns, C., & Barlow, D. H. (2013). Positive emotion regulation in emotional disorders: A theoretical review. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(3), 343–360. Scholar
  9. Chen, J., & Zhou, L. (2017). Savoring as a moderator between positive life events and hopelessness depression. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 45(8), 1337–1344. Scholar
  10. Clara, I. P., Cox, B. J., & Enns, M. W. (2001). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Depression–Anxiety–Stress Scales in depressed and anxious patients. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 23(1), 61–67. Scholar
  11. DiGiuseppe, R., Leaf, R., Gorman, B., & Robin, M. W. (2017). The development of a measure of irrational/rational beliefs. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. Scholar
  12. Eisner, L. R., Johnson, S. L., & Carver, C. S. (2009). Positive affect regulation in anxiety disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23(5), 645–649. Scholar
  13. Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. New York: Stuart.Google Scholar
  14. Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy (rev. ed.). Secaucus, NJ: Birscj Lane.Google Scholar
  15. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389. Scholar
  16. German, R. E., Lorenzo-Luaces, L., & DeRubeis, R. J. (2014). Patient’s attributions about symptom improvement in CBT for depression: Development of a rating system and an initial test of validity. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 7(3), 272–286.Google Scholar
  17. Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 271–299. Scholar
  18. Hurley, D. B., & Kwon, P. (2011). Results of a study to increase savoring the moment: Differential impact on positive and negative outcomes. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(4), 579–588. Scholar
  19. Langston, C. A. (1994). Capitalizing on and coping with daily-life events: Expressive responses to positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(6), 1112–1125. Scholar
  20. Lovibond, P. F., & Lovibond, S. H. (1995). The structure of negative emotional states: Comparison of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) with the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(3), 335–343. Scholar
  21. Macavei, B. (2002). A Romanian adaptation of the Attitudes and Belief Scale 2. Romanian Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies, 2(2), 105–122.Google Scholar
  22. Macavei, B. (2005). The role of irrational beliefs in the rational emotive behavior theory of depression. Journal of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies, 5(1), 73–81.Google Scholar
  23. MacKinnon, D. P., Fairchild, A. J., & Fritz, M. S. (2007). Mediation analysis. Annual Review of Psychology, 58(1), 593–614. Scholar
  24. Menard, S. (2002). Applied logistic regression. Analysis. Scholar
  25. Nelis, S., Holmes, E. A., & Raes, F. (2015). Response styles to positive affect and depression: Concurrent and prospective associations in a community sample. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39(4), 480–491. Scholar
  26. Neter, J., Wasserman, W., & Kutner, M. H. (1989). Applied linear regression models (2nd ed., pp. 229–292). Boston: Irwin Publ.Google Scholar
  27. Opriş, D., & Macavei, B. (2005). The distinction between functional and dysfunctional negative emotions; An empirical analysis. Journal of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies, 5(2), 181–195.Google Scholar
  28. Parrott, W. G. (1993). Beyond hedonism: Motives for inhibiting good moods and for maintaining bad moods. In D. M. Wegner & J. W. Pennebaker (Eds.), Handbook of mental control (pp. 278–305). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.Google Scholar
  29. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891. Scholar
  30. Quoidbach, J., Wood, A. M., & Hansenne, M. (2009). Back to the future: the effect of daily practice of mental time travel into the future on happiness and anxiety. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(5), 349–355. Scholar
  31. Ramsey, M. A., & Gentzler, A. L. (2014). Age differences in subjective well-being across adulthood: The roles of savoring and future time perspective. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 78(1), 3–22. Scholar
  32. Reis, H. T., Smith, S. M., Carmichael, C. L., Caprariello, P. A., Tsai, F.-F., Rodrigues, A., et al. (2010). Are you happy for me? How sharing positive events with others provides personal and interpersonal benefits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99(2), 311–329. Scholar
  33. Shiota, M. N., Keltner, D., & John, O. P. (2006). Positive emotion dispositions differentially associated with Big Five personality and attachment style. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 61–71. Scholar
  34. Smith, J. L., & Hollinger-Smith, L. (2014). Savoring, resilience, and psychological well-being in older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 19(3), 192–200. Scholar
  35. Szentagotai, A., & Freeman, A. (2007). An analysis of the relationship between irrational beliefs and automatic thoughts in predicting distress. Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, 7(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
  36. Vîslă, A., Flückiger, C., Grosse Holtforth, M., & David, D. (2015). Irrational beliefs and psychological distress: A meta-analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 85(1), 8–15. Scholar
  37. Werner-Seidler, A., Banks, R., Dunn, B. D., & Moulds, M. L. (2013). An investigation of the relationship between positive affect regulation and depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51(1), 46–56. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evidence-Based Assessment and Psychological Interventions Doctoral School, The International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental HealthBabeș-Bolyai University, University of Cluj-NapocaCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, The International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental HealthBabeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-NapocaCluj-Napoca, ClujRomania

Personalised recommendations