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J Affect Disord. 2018 Aug 15;236:69-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.113. Epub 2018 Apr 24.

Emotional rigidity negatively impacts remission from anxiety and recovery of well-being.

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The Menninger Clinic, 12301 Main St., Houston, TX 77035, United States. Electronic address:
The Menninger Clinic, 12301 Main St., Houston, TX 77035, United States.
Houston Methodist Behavioral Health, 6550 Fannin St. STE 2509, Houston, TX 77030, United States.



Emotional rigidity is described in clinical literature as a significant barrier to recovery; however, few there are few empirical measures of the construct. The current study had two aims: Study 1 aimed to identify latent factors that may bear on the construct of emotional rigidity while Study 2 assessed the potential impact of the latent factor(s) on anxiety remission rates and well-being.


This study utilized data from 2472 adult inpatients (1176 females and 1296 males) with severe psychopathology. Study 1 utilized exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to identify latent factors of emotional rigidity. Study 2 utilized hierarchical logistic regression analyses to assess the relationships among emotional rigidity factors and anxiety remission and well-being recovery at discharge.


Study 1 yielded a two-factor solution identified in EFA was confirmed with CFA. Factor 1 consisted of neuroticism, experiential avoidance, non-acceptance of emotions, impaired goal-directed behavior, impulse control difficulties and limited access to emotion regulation strategies when experiencing negative emotions. Factor 2 consisted of lack of emotional awareness and lack of emotional clarity when experiencing negative emotions. Results of Study 2 indicated higher scores on Factor 1 was associated with lower remission rates from anxiety and poorer well-being upon discharge. Factor 2 was not predictive of outcome.


Emotional rigidity appears to be a latent construct that negatively impacts remission rates from anxiety. Limitations of the present study include its retrospective design, and inefficient methods of assessing emotional rigidity.


Anxiety; Emotional rigidity; Treatment outcomes; Well-being

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