Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis




Douglas Nangle

Committee Members

Michelle Buffie, Edward Bernard, Cynthia Erdley, Jordan LaBouff

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020


The present thesis describes a study examining the process of emotion regulation (ER) and its connections to symptoms of two forms of psychopathology, attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression, both separately and comorbidly. ER can be characterized as the processes and components that make up a person’s ability to express, experience, and control his/her emotions. It is theorized to be an important component of a variety of psychological disorders, including ADHD and depression. ER has been found to play a vital role in the development of both of these disorders and there has been speculation that ER may explain some of the observed comorbidity between them. This thesis project will explore the connections among ER, ADHD symptoms, and depressive symptoms, how ER relates to each disorder, and its possible role in mediating the relationship between the two symptom types. Results indicated that females (M = 86.95, SD = 25.51) reported significantly higher ER difficulties than males (M = 80.73, SD = 23.29), t(359) = -2.25, p = 0.03. No significant difference in ADHD symptoms was found between males (M = 31.08, SD = 11.59) and females (M = 32.15, SD = 11.03), t(359) = - 0.85, p = 0.40. Females (M = 17.97, SD = 15.58) reported significantly higher depressive symptoms than males (M = 14.22, SD = 13.99), t(359) = -2.25, p = 0.03. In regards to correlations, it was also found that higher emotion regulation difficulties were associated with higher ADHD symptoms (r = .47, p < .001). Higher emotion regulation difficulties were associated with higher depressive symptoms (r =.65, p < .001). Higher ADHD symptoms were associated with higher depressive symptoms (r = .49, p < .001). In the final mediational model, results found a significant indirect effect of ADHD symptoms on depressive symptoms through ER, b = .35, BCa Cl [0.24, 0.46]. This indirect effect accounted for 25% of the variance, b = .25, BCa Cl [0.19, 0.33]. Therefore, ADHD symptoms had an indirect effect on depressive symptoms through ER in a population of emerging adults.