Emotion regulation in unipolar depression: the effects of acceptance and suppression of subjective emotional experience on the intensity and duration of sadness and negative affect

Behav Res Ther. 2008 Nov;46(11):1201-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2008.08.001. Epub 2008 Aug 19.


This study examined the effects of emotional suppression and acceptance in a depressed sample. Sixty participants with diagnoses of unipolar depression completed a questionnaire packet and participated in an experiment. The experiment utilized two conditions to explore correlates of the spontaneous use of emotion regulation strategies and the effects of an experimental manipulation of acceptance and suppression. Results demonstrated that suppression produced short-term reductions in sadness. Notably, anxiety about the experience of depressed mood influenced the efficacy of emotional suppression with findings showing that suppression was no longer effective at moderate and higher levels of anxiety about the experience of depressed mood. Implications of study findings for understanding emotion dysregulation in depressive disorders and the treatment of depression are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Repression, Psychology
  • Young Adult