The Effects of Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms on Daily Positive Emotion Regulation

  • Jenna R. Carl
  • Christopher P. Fairholme
  • Matthew W. Gallagher
  • Johanna Thompson-Hollands
  • David H. Barlow


Individuals with anxiety and depressive symptoms exhibit disturbances in positive emotion regulation, which may hinder full recovery. By comparison, individuals with strong beliefs regarding their capacity to “savor” or maintain positive emotions (i.e., savoring beliefs) display more adaptive positive emotion regulation. The present daily diary study explores three momentary processes involved in positive emotion regulation, namely positive emotion reactivity, regulatory goals, and regulatory effectiveness, and examines the comparative effects of baseline anxiety and depressive symptoms versus savoring beliefs on such processes in real-life contexts. A sample of 164 nonclinical undergraduates provided baseline measures of anxiety and depressive symptom severity and savoring beliefs prior to completing 14 daily assessments of positive emotions and emotion regulatory responses to daily positive events. Results indicated that higher baseline anxiety and depressive symptom severity were associated with decreased positive emotion reactivity and increased down-regulation of positive emotions; higher baseline savoring beliefs were associated with increased positive emotion reactivity, decreased down-regulation and increased up-regulation of positive emotions. Potential clinical implications are discussed.


Positive emotion Anxiety Depression Emotion regulation Daily diary 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenna R. Carl
    • 1
  • Christopher P. Fairholme
    • 2
  • Matthew W. Gallagher
    • 3
  • Johanna Thompson-Hollands
    • 1
  • David H. Barlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Department of PsychologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA
  3. 3.National Center for PTSDVA Boston Healthcare System, Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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