Positive emotion regulation strategies as mediators in depression and generalized anxiety disorder symptoms: A Transdiagnostic framework investigation

Abstract

Positive emotion regulation (ER) strategies may contribute to the development and maintenance of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression; nonetheless, the underlying and transdiagnostic mechanisms are still unknown. To examine: 1) the mediating role of positive ER strategies in the relationship between ER deficits and experiential avoidance in GAD and depression symptoms; 2) differences in positive ER strategies among participants with elevated symptoms of GAD, depression, depression comorbid with GAD, and a nonclinical sample. 532 Tehran University students completed questionnaires assessing experiential avoidance, deficits in ER, positive ER strategies (dampening, positive rumination), and GAD and depression symptoms. Differences were assessed in four groups: GAD, depression, depression comorbid with GAD, and nonclinical. Data were analysed with path analysis and MANCOVA. Dampening and positive rumination mediated the relationship between deficits in ER and experiential avoidance in participants with depression and GAD symptoms. As for the between groups comparisons, the comorbid group obtained the highest scores on dampening and the nonclinical group the lowest. By contrast, nonclinical participants had the highest scores on positive rumination, whereas the comorbid group had the lowest. Positive ER strategies might be transdiagnostic variables. Dampening was more associated with psychopathology than positive rumination, suggesting that this strategy could be more clearly considered a transdiagnostic factor. Future studies with clinical samples must support this suggestion.

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Funding

This work was supported by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences [grant number: 96–02–30-34239.

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Correspondence to Giti Shams.

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Abasi, I., Shams, G., Pascual-Vera3, B. et al. Positive emotion regulation strategies as mediators in depression and generalized anxiety disorder symptoms: A Transdiagnostic framework investigation. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01392-5

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Keywords

  • Transdiagnostic
  • Dampening
  • Positive rumination
  • Experiential avoidance
  • Depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder