When negative interpretations persist, positive emotions don't! Inflexible negative interpretations encourage depression and social anxiety by dampening positive emotions

Jonas Everaert*, Michael V. Bronstein, Ariana A. Castro, Tyrone D. Cannon, Jutta Joormann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Research on emotion regulation difficulties has been instrumental in understanding hallmark features of depression and social anxiety. Yet, the cognitive mechanisms that give rise to maladaptive patterns of emotion regulation strategy use remain underspecified. This investigation examined the association of negative interpretation inflexibility and interpretation biases with the use of common emotion regulation strategies in response to negative and positive emotional experiences (repetitive negative thinking, positive reappraisal, and dampening). Study 1 (N = 250) found that inflexibility in revising negative interpretations in response to disconfirmatory positive information was related to the dampening of positive emotions, but not to repetitive negative thinking or positive reappraisal. Importantly, dampening mediated the relation between inflexible negative interpretations and symptoms of both depression and social anxiety. This mediation model was further supported by the data from Study 2 (N = 294). Across both studies, negative interpretation bias was related to repetitive negative thinking and dampening, whereas positive interpretation bias was related to positive reappraisal. Collectively, these results suggest that both interpretation inflexibility and interpretation biases may contribute to difficulties in emotion regulation related to depression and social anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103510
Number of pages12
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume124
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Interpretation inflexibility
  • Interpretation bias
  • Emotion regulation
  • Bias against disconfirmatory evidence (BADE)
  • DISCONFIRMATORY EVIDENCE
  • INTERPRETATION BIAS
  • SELF-REPORT
  • REGULATION QUESTIONNAIRE
  • PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES
  • REGULATION STRATEGIES
  • RESPONSES
  • SYMPTOMS
  • DISORDER
  • THINKING

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