Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 88, Issue 4, pp 807–825 | Cite as

Reconsidering Emotion Dysregulation

  • Alessandra D’Agostino
  • Serena Covanti
  • Mario Rossi Monti
  • Vladan Starcevic
Review Article


This article aims to review the concept of emotion dysregulation, focusing on issues related to its definition, meanings and role in psychiatric disorders. Articles on emotion dysregulation published until May 2016 were identified through electronic database searches. Although there is no agreement about the definition of emotion dysregulation, the following five overlapping, not mutually exclusive dimensions of emotion dysregulation were identified: decreased emotional awareness, inadequate emotional reactivity, intense experience and expression of emotions, emotional rigidity and cognitive reappraisal difficulty. These dimensions characterise a number of psychiatric disorders in various proportions, with borderline personality disorder and eating disorders seemingly more affected than other conditions. The present review contributes to the literature by identifying the key components of emotion dysregulation and by showing how these permeate various forms of psychopathology. It also makes suggestions for improving research endeavours. Better understanding of the various dimensions of emotion dysregulation will have implications for clinical practice. Future research needs to address emotion dysregulation in all its multifaceted complexity so that it becomes clearer what the concept encompasses.


Emotion dysregulation Emotion regulation Emotion Psychopathology Borderline personality disorder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Responsibilities

The manuscript is original and has not been published elsewhere nor is it currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra D’Agostino
    • 1
  • Serena Covanti
    • 1
  • Mario Rossi Monti
    • 1
  • Vladan Starcevic
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Humanistic Studies - Centre for Research, Training and Intervention in Clinical PsychologyUniversity of UrbinoUrbinoItaly
  2. 2.Sydney Medical School - Nepean, Discipline of PsychiatryUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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