Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 200–207 | Cite as

Interactions between emotion regulation strategies and affective style: Implications for trait anxiety versus depressed mood

  • Tracy A. Dennis
Original Paper


Affective style reflecting approach and inhibition is thought to be associated in distinct ways with anxious versus depressed mood; relatively few studies, however, consider how the interaction between affective style and the strategies individuals use to regulate mood and emotion might influence these associations. Sixty-seven non-disordered adults self-reported on their use of two emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression), behavioral approach (BAS) and behavioral inhibition sensitivity (BIS) dimensions of affective style, and anxious and depressed mood (trait anxiety and symptoms of depression). Trait anxiety versus depressed mood was associated with unique interactive patterns of emotion regulation and affective style: enhanced use of reappraisal was linked to less depressed mood in those reporting low BAS, whereas high suppression was linked to greater trait anxiety in those reporting low BIS. The implications of findings for typical emotional processes and for clinical disorders and interventions are discussed.


Emotion regulation Affective style Trait anxiety Depressed mood 



I would like to thank Gerard Bruder for his feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript. This research was supported by NIH grants 5K01 MH075764-02 and 5S06GM060654-04.


  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Safford, S. M., & Gibb, B. E. (2006). The cognitive vulnerability to depression (CVD) project: Current findings and future directions. In L. B. Alloy & J. H. Riskind (Eds.), Cognitive vulnerability to emotional disorders (pp. 33–61). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Bakish, D. (1999). The patient with comorbid depression and anxiety: The unmet need. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60, 20–24.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelson, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561–571.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradley, S. J. (2000). Affect regulation and the development of psychopathology. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  6. Breiter, H. C., & Rosen, B. R. (1999). Functional magnetic resonance imaging of brain reward circuitry in the human. Ann NY Academy of Science, 877, 523–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bruder, G. E., Wexler, B. E., Stewart, J. W., Price, L. H., & Quitkin, F. M. (1999). Perceptual asymmetry differences between major depression with or without a comorbid anxiety disorder: A dichotic listening study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 233–239.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campbell-Sills, L., Liverant, G. I., & Brown, T. A. (2004). Psychometric evaluation of the behavioral inhibition/behavioral activation scales in a large sample of outpatients with anxiety and mood disorders. Psychological Assessmen, 16, 244–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cannon, T. D., & Keller, M. C. (2006). Endophenotypes in the genetic analyses of mental disorders. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2, 267–290.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carver, C. S. (2004). Negative affects deriving from the behavioral approach system. Emotion, 4, 3–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the self-regulation of behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Carver, C. S., & White, T. L. (1994). Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: The BIS/BAS Scales. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 67, 319–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S. L. (1998). The development of depression in children and adolescents. American Psychologist, 53, 221–241.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cole, P. M., Martin, S. E., & Dennis, T. A. (2004). Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: Methodological challenges and directions for child development research. Child Development, 75, 317–333.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cole, P. M., Michel, M. K., & Teti, L. O. (1994). The development of emotion regulation and dysregulation: A clinical perspective. In N. A. Fox (Ed.), The development of emotion regulation: Biological and behavioral considerations. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59, (2–3, Serial No. 240), 273–100.Google Scholar
  16. Davidson, R. J. (1998a). Affective style and affective disorders: Perspectives from affective neuroscience. Cognition and Emotion, 12, 307–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davidson, R. J. (1998b). Anterior electrophysiological asymmetries, emotion, and depression: Conceptual and methodological conundrums. Psychophysiology, 35, 607–614.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davidson, R. J. (2004). What does the prefrontal cortex “do” in affect: Perspectives on frontal EEG asymmetry research. Biological Psychology, 67, 219–233.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Davidson, R. J., Jackson, D. C., & Kalin, N. H. (2000). Emotion, plasticity, context, and regulation: Perspectives from affective neuroscience. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 890–909.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Davidson, R. J., Pizzagalli, D., & Nitschke, J. B. (2002). The representation and regulation of emotion in depression: Perspectives from affective neuroscience. In I. H. Gotlib & C. L. Hammen (Eds.), Handbook of depression (pp. 219–244). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  21. Dennis, T. (2006). Emotional self-regulation in preschoolers: The interplay of child approach reactivity, parenting, and control capacities. Developmental Psychology, 42, 84–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Derryberry, D., & Reed, M. A. (2002). Anxiety-related attentional biases and their regulation by attentional control. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 111, 225–236.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Derryberry, D., & Rothbart, M. K. (1997). Reactive and effortful processes in the organization of temperament. Development and Psychopathology, 9, 633–652.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Desimone, R., & Duncan, J. (1995). Neural mechanisms of selective visual attention. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 18, 193–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Drevets, W. C., & Raichle, M. E. (1998). Reciprocal suppression of regional cerebral blood flow during emotional versus higher cognitive processes: Implications for interactions between emotion and cognition. Cognition and Emotion, 12, 353–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Elliott, R., Rubinsztein, J. S., Sahakian, B. J., & Dolan, R. J. (2002). The neural basis of mood-congruent processing biases in depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 59, 597–604.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Feldner, M. T., Zvolensky, M. J., Stickle, T. R., Bonn-Miller, M. O., & Leen-Feldner, E. W. (2006). Anxiety sensitivity-physical concerns as a moderator of the emotional consequences of emotion suppression during biological challenge: An experimental test using individual growth curve analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 249–272.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Fox, N. A., Henderson, H. A., Marshall, P. J., Nichols, K. E., & Ghera, M. M. (2005). Behavioral inhibition: Linking biology and behavior within a developmental framework. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 235–262.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Garber J., & Dodge K. A. (Eds.). (1991). The development of emotion regulation and dysregulation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Goldsmith, H. H., & Davidson, R. J. (2004). Disambiguating the components of emotion regulation. Child Development, 75.Google Scholar
  31. Gottesman, I. I., & Gould, T. D. (2003). The endophenotype concept in psychiatry: Etymology and strategic intentions. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 636–345.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gray, J. A., & McNaughton, N. (2000). The neuropsychology of anxiety. (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  33. Gray, J. R., Braver, T. S., & Raichle, M. E. (2002). Integration of emotion and cognition in the lateral prefrontal cortex. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, 99, 4115–4120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gray, J. R., Burgess, G. C., Shaefer, A., Yarkoni, T., Larsen, R. J., & Braver, T. S. (2005). Affective personality differences in neural processing efficiency confirmed using fMRI. Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 5, 182–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2, 271–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gross, J. J. (2001). Emotion regulation in adulthood: Timing is everything. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 214–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gross, J. J. (2002). Emotion regulation: Affective, cognitive, and social consequences. Psychophysiology, 39, 281–291.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2002). Wise emotion regulation. In L. F. Barrett & P. Salovey (Eds.), The wisdom in feeling: Psychological processes in emotional intelligence (pp. 297–319). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  39. Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 348–362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gross, J. J., & Levenson, R. W. (1997). Hiding feelings: The acute effects of inhibiting negative and positive emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 95–103.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hagemann, T., Levenson, R. W., & Gross, J. J. (2006). Expressive suppression during an acoustic startle. Psychophysiology, 43, 104–112.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hariri, A. R., Bookheimer, S. Y., & Mazziotta, J. C. (2000). Modulating emotional responses: Effects of a neocortical network on the limbic system. Neuroreport: For Rapid Communication of Neuroscience Research, 11, 43–48.Google Scholar
  43. Henriques, J. B., & Davidson, R. J. (2000). Decreased responsiveness to reward in depression. Cognition & Emotion, 14, 711–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Higgins, E. T. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American Psychologist, 52, 1280–1300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Higgins, E. T. (2006). Value from hedonic experience and engagement. Psychological Review, 113, 439–460.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Higgins, E. T., Roney, C. J. R., Crowe, E., & Hymes, C. (1994). Ideal versus ought predilections for approach and avoidance: Distinct self-regulatory systems. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 66, 276–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Izard, C. E. (2002). Translating emotion theory and research into preventive interventions. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 796–824.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Izard, C. E., & Ackerman, B. P. (2000). Motivational, organizational, and regulatory functions of discrete emotions. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (2nd ed., pp. 253–264). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  49. Jackson, D. C., Mueller, C. J., Dolski, I., Dalton, K. M., Nitschke, J. B., Urry, H. L., et al. (2003). Now you feel it, now you don’t: Frontal brain electrical asymmetry and individual differences in emotion regulation. Psychological Science, 14, 612–617.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kasch, K. L., Rottenberg, J., Arnow, B. A., & Gotlib, I. H. (2002). Behavioral activation and inhibition systems and the severity and course of depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 111, 589–597.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kashdan, T. B., & Steger, M. F. (2006). Expanding the topography of social anxiety: An experience-sampling assessment of positive emotions, positive events, and emotion suppression. Psychological Science, 17, 120–128.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kennedy, B. L., Schwab, J. J., Morris, R. L., & Beldia, G. (2001). Assessment of state and trait anxiety in subjects with anxiety and depressive disorders. Psychiatric Quarterly, 72, 263–276.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kring, A. M., & Werner, K. H. (2004). Emotion regulation and psychopathology. In P. Philippot & R. S. Feldman (Eds.), The regulation of emotion (pp. 359–385). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  54. Leen-Feldner, E. W., Zvolensky, M. J., & Feldner, M. T. (2004). Behavioral inhibition sensitivity and emotional response suppression: A laboratory test among adolescents in a fear-relevant paradigm. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 783–791.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Levitt, J. T., Brown, T. A., Orsillo, S. M., & Barlow, D. H. (2004). The effects of acceptance versus suppression of emotion on subjective and psychophysiological response to carbon dioxide challenge in patients with panic disorder. Behavior Therapy, 35, 747–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Matthews, A., & Mackintosh, B. (1998). A cognitive model of selective processing in anxiety. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22, 539–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mennin, D. S., Heimberg, R. G., & Turk, C. L. (2004). Clinical presentation and diagnostic features. In R. G. Heimberg, C. L. Turk, & D. S. Mennin (Eds.), Generalized anxiety disorder: Advances in research and practice (pp. 3–28). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  58. Miller, E. K., & Cohen, J. D. (2001). An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24, 167–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ochsner, K. N., Bunge, S. A., Gross, J. J., & Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2002). Rethinking feelings: An fMRI study of the cognitive regulation of emotion. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 14, 1215–1229.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schore, A. N. (1994). Affect regulation and the origin of the self: The neurobiology of emotional development. Hillsdale, NJ, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  61. Shankman, S. A., & Klein, D. N. (2003). The relation between depression and anxiety: An evaluation of the tripartite, approach-withdrawal and valence-arousal models. Clinical Psychology Review, 23, 605–637.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Shankman, S. A., Tenke, C. E., Bruder, G. E., Durbin, C. E., Hayden, E. P., & Klein, D. N. (2005). Low positive emotionality in young children: Association with EEG asymmetry. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 85–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Spielberger, C. D. (1983). State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Manual. Redwood City, CA: Mind Garden Inc.Google Scholar
  64. Thompson, R. A. (1994). Emotion regulation: A theme in search of definition. In N. A. Fox (Eds.), The development of emotion regulation: Biological and behavioral considerations. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (Vol. 59, pp. 25–52).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hunter CollegeThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations