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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2012 Jun;14(3):182-7. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0262-2.

Emotion regulation and anxiety disorders.

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Brain Imaging Research Center, Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, 72205, USA.


A growing body of research suggests that the construct of emotion regulation is important for understanding the onset, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders. In this review, we provide a selective overview of this emerging field and highlight the major sources of evidence. First, evidence suggests that the construct of emotion regulation can be differentiated from the construct of emotion. Second, there is a large and consistent body of research demonstrating that emotion regulation strategies can modulate emotional responding, and this finding is observed in both behavioral and neuroimaging studies. Third, measures of emotion regulation explain incremental variance in measures of anxiety disorder symptoms not accounted for by measures of negative affect. Although the research implicating emotion regulation in the anxiety disorders is promising, future research will be necessary to further clarify causal mechanisms explaining how emotion regulation confers vulnerability for anxiety disorders and to improve the clarity and consistency of definitions of emotion regulation.

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