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Clin Psychol Rev. 2016 Apr;45:81-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2016.03.008. Epub 2016 Apr 1.

Emotion malleability beliefs, emotion regulation, and psychopathology: Integrating affective and clinical science.

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Yale University, Department of Psychology, United States. Electronic address:
Yale University, Department of Psychology, United States.


Beliefs that individuals hold about whether emotions are malleable or fixed, also referred to as emotion malleability beliefs, may play a crucial role in individuals' emotional experiences and their engagement in changing their emotions. The current review integrates affective science and clinical science perspectives to provide a comprehensive review of how emotion malleability beliefs relate to emotionality, emotion regulation, and specific clinical disorders and treatment. Specifically, we discuss how holding more malleable views of emotion could be associated with more active emotion regulation efforts, greater motivation to engage in active regulatory efforts, more effort expended regulating emotions, and lower levels of pathological distress. In addition, we explain how extending emotion malleability beliefs into the clinical domain can complement and extend current conceptualizations of major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. This may prove important given the increasingly central role emotion dysregulation has been given in conceptualization and intervention for these psychiatric conditions. Additionally, discussion focuses on how emotion beliefs could be more explicitly addressed in existing cognitive therapies. Promising future directions for research are identified throughout the review.


Anxiety; Coping; Depression; Emotion regulation

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