Effectiveness of Emotion Regulation Group Therapy on Craving, Emotion Problems, and Marital Satisfaction in Patients with Substance Use Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Effectiveness of Emotion Regulation on Craving and Marital Satisfaction

  • Fatemeh Zargar Department of Health Psychology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
  • Nasim Bagheri Department of Clinical Psychology, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran.
  • Mohammad Javad Tarrahi Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics & Behavioral Sciences Research Center, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
  • Mehrdad Salehi Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
Craving, Emotion, Marital Relationship, Substance Use Disorder


Objective: Psychological and environmental factors, such as difficulties in emotion regulation (ER) and marital problems, are involved in relapse and craving in patients with substance use disorders. Emotional regulation therapy can help maintain opioid withdrawal and improve marital relations by focusing on appropriate adjustment of emotions. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of emotion regulation therapy on craving, emotion regulation, and marital satisfaction in patients with substance use disorders.

Method: This randomized controlled clinical trial with pretest and posttest was performed in 2014 in Noor hospital, Isfahan, Iran. In this study, 30 patients who were admitted to the addiction center of Noor hospital were selected using purposive sampling. They were assigned into two groups randomly: (1) 15 patients in treatment as usual (TAU group); (2) 15 patients in emotion regulation group therapy (ERGT). The ERGT group received eight weekly treatments, based on Gross model, to learn recognize emotions and their effects, overcome obstacles of positive emotions, accept emotions, identify regulatory maladaptive and adaptive strategies of emotions, and modify behavior. Before and after the emotion regulation sessions in experimental group, Craving Beliefs Questionnaire (CBQ), Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, and Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) were administered in both groups.

Results: The results of analysis of variance indicated that mean scores of marital adjustment increased in ERGT (93.66 ± 15.81) compared to TAU group (55.26 ± 20.98) and the mean scores of craving were decreased in ERGT compared to TAU group (56.66 ± 18.39 and 105.2 ± 34.5, respectively). Also, most aspects of ER improved in ERGT compared to TAU group, and the total score of ER was increased in ERGT significantly (96.69 ± 5.38 in ERGT versus 73.70 ± 5.05 in TAU).

Conclusion: Based on the findings of this study, emotion regulation group therapy has a significant effect on reducing Craving and improving marital adjustment and emotion regulation in Patients with Substance Use Disorders. So, it can use as a useful psychotherapy in addiction treatment centers.

Author Biography

Fatemeh Zargar, Department of Health Psychology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

deparment of psychiatry


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How to Cite
Zargar F, Bagheri N, Tarrahi MJ, Salehi M. Effectiveness of Emotion Regulation Group Therapy on Craving, Emotion Problems, and Marital Satisfaction in Patients with Substance Use Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Iran J Psychiatry. 14(4):283-290.
Original Article(s)