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Cognition and Emotion


Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

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©2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

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Coyne’s interpersonal theory of depression posits that those with depressive symptoms engage in maladaptive interpersonal behaviours that, although intended to assuage distress, push away social supports and increase depressive symptoms (Coyne, 1976). Excessive reassurance seeking, negative feedback seeking, and conversational self-focus are three behaviours implicated in Coyne’s theory, yet their correlates- apart from depressive symptoms- are poorly understood. The current study considered the potential role of intrapersonal emotion regulation deficits as an additional vulnerability factor for these behaviours. Mediation models further tested whether linkages between emotion regulation deficits and maladaptive interpersonal behaviours helped to explain short-term increases in depressive symptoms, as further suggested by theory. Older adolescents (N = 291, M age = 18.9) completed self-report measures of emotion regulation deficits, depressive symptoms, and the three maladaptive interpersonal behaviours during an initial lab visit and again four weeks later. A series of multiple regression models suggested that emotion regulation difficulties are uniquely associated with each of the behaviours over and above the impact of depressive symptoms. Mediation analyses suggested that only excessive reassurance seeking mediated the association between initial emotion regulation deficits and increased depressive symptoms over time. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Eliot Fearey, Jesse Evans & Rebecca A. Schwartz-Mette (2021) Emotion regulation deficits and depression-related maladaptive interpersonal behaviours, Cognition and Emotion, 35:8, 1559-1572, DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2021.1989668

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©2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group




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