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Psychiatry Res. 2012 Dec 30;200(2-3):550-3. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.07.009. Epub 2012 Aug 19.

Specific emotion regulation impairments in major depression and anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1University Hospital Heidelberg, Department of General Internal Medicine and Psychosomatics, Im Neuenheimer Feld 410, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Emotion regulation (ER) difficulties have been considered to play an important role in the development and maintenance of various mental disorders such as depression and anorexia nervosa. However, previous research has failed to provide detailed insight into the disorder-specificity of ER difficulties. Therefore, the present study investigated specific ER difficulties in female samples of patients with major depression, patients with anorexia nervosa, and healthy controls (total sample: N=140). As compared to healthy controls, both clinical groups reported greater ER difficulties concerning both the experience and the differentiation as well as the attenuation and the modulation of emotions. Patients in both clinical groups reported comparably elevated ER difficulties regarding the experience and differentiation of emotions. However, depressed patients reported stronger ER difficulties regarding the attenuation and modulation of emotions as compared to patients with anorexia nervosa. These findings support the notion of ER difficulties as transdiagnostic phenomena, and suggest that depression may be characterized by broader and greater ER difficulties than anorexia nervosa.

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