Iranian Journal of Psychiatry 2018. 13(3):160-167.

Emotion Regulation in Generalized Anxiety and Social Anxiety: Examining the Distinct and Shared Use of Emotion Regulation Strategies
Imaneh Abasi, Behrouz Dolatshahi, Shirin Farazmand, Abbas Pourshahbaz, Shima Tamanaeefar


Objective: According to the transdiagnostic view, emotion regulation strategies are common among emotional disorders. Despite the vast majority of studies demonstrating the common role of emotion regulation strategies in emotional disorders including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD), distinct functions of these strategies are largely unknown. So, the aim of the present study was to assess the distinct and shared use of emotion regulation strategies in individuals with GAD and SAD symptoms.

Method: Participants were recruited from a community sample of Tehran using purposive sampling method. The sample (N = 346) consisted of 269 nonclinical individuals, 47 individuals with generalized anxiety symptoms, and 30 individuals with social anxiety symptoms. Informed consent was obtained from all the participants and they were asked to fill in a series of self -report questionnaires including BDI-II, GAD-IV, SIAS, DERS, EQ, ACS, and RRS. Data were analyzed by discriminant function analysis using SPSS-23.

Results: Findings revealed significant differences between the 3 groups in non-acceptance, focusing, shifting, brooding, and decentering (P<0.01). Results of discriminant function analysis showed 2 functions: the first accounted for 87.4% of the variance (Wilk`s Lambda = 0.81, df = 10, P<0.01, χ2 = 70.06), and the second for 12.6% of the variance (Wilk`s Lambda = 0.97, df = 4, P<0.05, χ2 = 9.43) of between group variability. Non-acceptance and focusing discriminated GAD and SAD the most.

Conclusion: The findings of the present study support both splitter and lumper approaches as there were some emotion regulation strategies common between GAD and SAD, including shifting, decentering, and brooding. However, some of them were distinct, such as focusing and non-acceptance. Nevertheless, there are still inconsistencies in research about the findings, and thus examining the pathways may illuminate these findings.


Attention, Emotion Regulation, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Rumination, Social Anxiety Disorder

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