Identifying the transdiagnostic and unique domains of emotion regulation difficulties in subclinical conditions of anxiety and co-occurring anxiety-depression

  • Meenakshi Shukla
  • Rakesh PandeyEmail author


It is well documented that emotion regulation difficulties are linked with various forms of psychopathology including anxiety and depression but the literature is still inconclusive regarding whether emotion regulation difficulties are transdiagnostic or pathology-specific. We speculate that certain types of emotion regulation difficulties may be transdiagnostic while others may show specificity. The present study attempts to empirically validate this speculation and tries to explore the common (transdiagnostic) and unique domains of emotion regulation difficulties associated with psychometrically identified subclinical groups of anxious and anxious-depressed individuals. University and college students (N = 192) were assessed on self-report measures of emotion regulation difficulties, positive-negative affect, depression, and trait and free-floating anxiety and classified into anxious, anxious-depressed, and normal groups based on the results of cluster analysis. Both subclinical groups reported overall higher levels of emotion regulation difficulties than normals, with anxious-depressed group showing more difficulties than anxious group. While difficulty engaging in goal-directed behaviour, lack of emotional awareness and emotional clarity were common across anxious and anxious-depressed groups, the anxious-depressed group showed a unique profile of emotion regulation difficulties characterized by non-acceptance of emotional response, impulse control difficulties, and limited access to emotion regulation strategies. Findings of discriminant function analysis revealed that while anxious-depressed group was characterised by difficulties in regulating emotions, the anxious group presented difficulties in emotional insight. The findings highlight the possible role of both unique and transdiagnostic components of emotion regulation difficulties in the development/maintenance of psychopathologies and have significant implications for predicting future development and psychotherapeutic management of these disorders.


Emotional regulation Anxiety Depression Transdiagnostic Positive affect Negative affect 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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