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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Differential Strategies of Emotion Regulation

Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstraße 31, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(9), 225;
Received: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 4 September 2019 / Published: 5 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology of Fear: From Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Approaches)
Patients suffering from mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders, are often impaired by inadequate emotional reactions. Specific aspects are the insufficient perception of their own emotional states and the use of dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies. Both aspects are interdependent. Thus, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) comprises the development and training of adequate emotion regulation strategies. Traditionally, reappraisal is the most common strategy, but strategies of acceptance are becoming more important in the course of advancing CBT. Indeed, there is evidence that emotion regulation strategies differ in self-reported effectiveness, psychophysiological reactions, and underlying neural correlates. However, comprehensive comparisons of different emotion regulation strategies are sparse. The present study, therefore, compared the effect of three common emotion regulation strategies (reappraisal, acceptance, and suppression) on self-reported effectiveness, recollection, and psychophysiological as well as electroencephalographic dimensions. Twenty-nine healthy participants were instructed to either reappraise, accept, suppress, or passively observe their upcoming emotional reactions while anxiety- and sadness-inducing pictures were presented. Results showed a compelling effect of reappraisal on emotional experience, skin conductance response, and P300 amplitude. Acceptance was almost as effective as reappraisal, but led to increased emotional experience. Combining all results, suppression was shown to be the least effective but significantly decreased emotional experience when thoughts and feelings had to be suppressed. Moreover, results show that greater propensity for rumination differentially impairs strategies of emotion regulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: emotion regulation; electroencephalography; skin conductance response emotion regulation; electroencephalography; skin conductance response
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Boehme, S.; Biehl, S.C.; Mühlberger, A. Effects of Differential Strategies of Emotion Regulation. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 225.

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