Emotion regulation and psychopathology: the role of gender

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2012:8:161-87. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032511-143109. Epub 2011 Oct 24.


This review addresses three questions regarding the relationships among gender, emotion regulation, and psychopathology: (a) are there gender differences in emotion regulation strategies, (b) are emotion regulation strategies similarly related to psychopathology in men and women, and (c) do gender differences in emotion regulation strategies account for gender differences in psychopathology? Women report using most emotion regulation strategies more than men do, and emotion regulation strategies are similarly related to psychopathology in women and men. More rumination in women compared to men partially accounts for greater depression and anxiety in women compared to men, while a greater tendency to use alcohol to cope partially accounts for more alcohol misuse in men compared to women. The literature on emotion regulation is likely missing vital information on how men regulate their emotions. I discuss lessons learned and questions raised about the relationships between gender differences in emotion regulation and gender differences in psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychopathology
  • Sex Factors