Emotion Regulation and the Anxiety Disorders: An Integrative Review

  • Josh M. CislerEmail author
  • Bunmi O. Olatunji
  • Matthew T. Feldner
  • John P. Forsyth


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 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josh M. Cisler
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Bunmi O. Olatunji
    • 3
  • Matthew T. Feldner
    • 1
  • John P. Forsyth
    • 4
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.Medical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.University at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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