Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 66–82 | Cite as

The Efficacy of Problem-Focused and Emotional Approach Interventions Varies as a Function of Emotional Processing Style

  • John P. Baker
  • Howard Berenbaum
Original Article


This study examined whether individual differences in emotional processing style (e.g., attention to and clarity of emotions) moderated the effectiveness of emotional approach and problem-focused interventions. Forty-one college freshmen were randomly assigned to one of two adjustment-to-college interventions: (a) an emotional approach intervention in which participants described their feelings, the sources of these feelings, and were provided with feedback about their feelings; or (b) a problem-focused intervention in which participants discussed how to solve their problems. Positive affect, negative affect, and anhedonic depression were measured before the intervention and 2 weeks subsequent to the intervention. Dimensions of emotional processing style were assessed using self-report. Participants low in attention to emotions benefited more from the emotional approach intervention, whereas those high in attention benefited more from the problem-focused intervention.


Coping Emotion Stress Problem-focused Emotional processing style 



We express our appreciation to the numerous individuals who provided feedback and clarification concerning particular points made in this article, including Mark Reinecke, Cara Raymond, Cara Hurley, Angela Picot, Court Tisdale, Randy Horton, and Julianne Biswurm Baker.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northwestern Memorial HospitalChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChicagoUSA

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