Preliminary evidence for an emotion dysregulation model of generalized anxiety disorder

Behav Res Ther. 2005 Oct;43(10):1281-310. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2004.08.008. Epub 2004 Dec 10.


Three studies provide preliminary support for an emotion dysregulation model of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In study 1, students with GAD reported heightened intensity of emotions, poorer understanding of emotions, greater negative reactivity to emotional experience, and less ability to self-soothe after negative emotions than controls. A composite emotion regulation score significantly predicted the presence of GAD, after controlling for worry, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. In study 2, these findings were largely replicated with a clinical sample. In study 3, students with GAD, but not controls, displayed greater increases in self-reported physiological symptoms after listening to emotion-inducing music than after neutral mood induction. Further, GAD participants had more difficulty managing their emotional reactions. Implications for GAD and psychopathology in general are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Attention
  • Culture
  • Depression / psychology
  • Emotions*
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Music
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales