Emotion regulation and psychopathology

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2015;11:379-405. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032814-112739. Epub 2015 Jan 2.


Emotional problems figure prominently in many clinical conditions. Recent efforts to explain and treat these conditions have emphasized the role of emotion dysregulation. However, emotional problems are not always the result of emotion dysregulation, and even when emotional problems do arise from emotion dysregulation, it is necessary to specify precisely what type of emotion dysregulation might be operative. In this review, we present an extended process model of emotion regulation, and we use this model to describe key points at which emotion-regulation difficulties can lead to various forms of psychopathology. These difficulties are associated with (a) identification of the need to regulate emotions, (b) selection among available regulatory options, (c) implementation of a selected regulatory tactic, and (d) monitoring of implemented emotion regulation across time. Implications and future directions for basic research, assessment, and intervention are discussed.

Keywords: clinical psychology; emotion regulation; process model; psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Emotions*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychopathology