Date of Award:

12-2010

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

David Stein

Abstract

This study investigates the relation between emotion regulation problems and clinical depression. One goal of the present study was to bring increased clarity and parsimony to how emotion regulation is presently measured by consolidating three widely used instruments. In addition, of interest was an investigation of whether particular emotion regulation problems and management strategies interact with gender to predict either severity of overall depression symptoms or the presence of a formal mood disorder diagnosis. The results clearly showed that irrespective of a person's gender, particular emotion regulation indicators, both singly, and in combination, are, indeed, more strongly related to the severity of depression symptoms. Specific to the severity of self-reported depression within these 17 emotion regulation subscales are: (a) Difficulty Identifying Feelings (TAS-20 subscales); (b) Limited Accessed to Emotion Regulation Strategies (DERS subscale); (c) Positive Refocusing (CERQ subscale); (d) Self-Blame (CERQ subscales); and (e) Refocus on Planning (CERQ subscales). According to results, the two emotion regulation constructs specifically distinguish DSM mood disordered from nondisordered subjects: Factor 2: Loss of Control over Behavior and Perceived Helplessness; and Factor 6: Assuming, Accepting Blame or Responsibility. These two constructs are also included in the five subscales that form a linear combination accounting for maximum variance in BDI-II. When considered together, the results of the present study suggest that these two emotion regulation factors seem to be the most important in predicting not only severity of depression, but also in helping to provide diagnostic information of clinical depression (differentiating people with DSM Major Depressive Episode and Mood Disorder NOS, versus those without a mood disorder).

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on October 1, 2010.

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