Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 68-82

Emotion Regulation and the Anxiety Disorders: An Integrative Review

  • Josh M. CislerAffiliated withPsychology Department, University of ArkansasMedical University of South Carolina Email author 
  • , Bunmi O. OlatunjiAffiliated withVanderbilt University
  • , Matthew T. FeldnerAffiliated withPsychology Department, University of Arkansas
  • , John P. ForsythAffiliated withUniversity at Albany, State University of New York

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The construct of emotion regulation has been increasingly investigated in the last decade, and this work has important implications for advancing anxiety disorder theory. This paper reviews research demonstrating that: 1) emotion (i.e., fear and anxiety) and emotion regulation are distinct, non-redundant, constructs that can be differentiated at the conceptual, behavioral, and neural levels of analysis; 2) emotion regulation can augment or diminish fear, depending on the emotion regulation strategy employed; and 3) measures of emotion regulation explain incremental variance in anxiety disorder symptoms above and beyond the variance explained by measures of emotional reactivity. The authors propose a model by which emotion regulation may function in the etiology of anxiety disorders. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.


Emotion regulation Anxiety Fear Coping GAD