Specific Beliefs about Emotions Are Associated with Different Emotion-Regulation Strategies
Trincas, R. , Bilotta, E. and Mancini, F. (2016) Specific Beliefs about Emotions Are Associated with Different Emotion-Regulation Strategies. Psychology, 7, 1682-1699. doi: 10.4236/psych.2016.713159.
Despite evidence pointing to the associations of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies (ERS) with psychopathology, little is known about their underlying mechanisms. Coherently with cognitive models, this study tested the hypothesis that specific beliefs about emotions may be associated with difficulties in emotion regulation and the use of different ERS (reappraisal, suppression, acceptance, rumination, avoidant coping, experiential avoidance). Consistently with the role of avoidance in the cognitive model of worry, we sought testing a mediation pattern where negative beliefs about emotions were connected to maladaptive ERS through experiential avoidance. 309 participants filled out an online questionnaire that measured beliefs about emotions, difficulties in emotion-regulation, and the tendency to adopt different ERS. Results showed that negative beliefs and high fear of emotions were associated with the use of specific ERS and avoidance coping. Fear of depressed mood and anxiety was associated with rumination and emotional avoidance, whereas emotion suppression was mainly associated with fear of anger and positive affect. Also, we found that experiential avoidance mediated the association between beliefs about emotion, rumination and emotional avoidance. Results provided evidence about the specific associations between beliefs about emotions and emotion-regulation pro- cesses, suggesting that beliefs about emotions may play a role in orienting specific ER styles.