Delineating components of emotion and its dysregulation in anxiety and mood psychopathology

Behav Ther. 2007 Sep;38(3):284-302. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2006.09.001. Epub 2007 May 9.


Two studies sought to elucidate the components of emotion and its dysregulation and examine their role in both the overlap and distinctness of the symptoms of 3 highly comorbid anxiety and mood disorders (i.e., generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, and social anxiety disorder). In Study 1, exploratory factor analyses demonstrated that 4 factors--heightened intensity of emotions, poor understanding of emotions, negative reactivity to emotions, and maladaptive management of emotions--best reflected the structure of 4 commonly used measures of emotion function and dysregulation. In Study 2, a separate sample provided support for this 4-factor model of emotion dysregulation. Poor understanding, negative reactivity, and maladaptive management were found to relate to a latent factor of emotion dysregulation. In contrast, heightened intensity of emotions was better characterized separately, suggesting it may relate more strongly to dispositional emotion generation or emotionality. Finally, the 4 components demonstrated both common and specific relationships to self-reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, and social anxiety disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Arousal
  • Character
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychopathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Students / psychology