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Emotion Regulation and the Transdiagnostic Role of Repetitive Negative Thinking in Adolescents with Social Anxiety and Depression

Abstract

Social anxiety and depression are common mental health problems among adolescents and are frequently comorbid. Primary aims of this study were to (1) elucidate the nature of individual differences in specific emotion regulation deficits among adolescents with symptoms of social anxiety and depression, and (2) determine whether repetitive negative thinking (RNT) functions as a transdiagnostic factor. A diverse sample of adolescents (N = 1065) completed measures assessing emotion regulation and symptoms of social anxiety and depression. Results indicated that adolescents with high levels of social anxiety and depression symptoms reported decreased emotional awareness, dysregulated emotion expression, and reduced use of emotion management strategies. The hypothesized structural model in which RNT functions as a transdiagnostic factor exhibited a better fit than an alternative model in which worry and rumination function as separate predictors of symptomatology. Findings implicate emotion regulation deficits and RNT in the developmental psychopathology of youth anxiety and mood disorders.

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Notes

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    The decision to use a t-score of 60 (instead of 65) was made to a) approximate the prevalence of depression in our sample to estimated population prevalence rates and b) prioritize statistical power to detect group differences.

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This study was funded by Yale University.

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David Klemanski, Joshua Curtiss and Katie McLaughlin declare that they have no conflict of interest. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema (deceased) had no conflict of interest.

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Klemanski, D.H., Curtiss, J., McLaughlin, K.A. et al. Emotion Regulation and the Transdiagnostic Role of Repetitive Negative Thinking in Adolescents with Social Anxiety and Depression. Cogn Ther Res 41, 206–219 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-016-9817-6

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Keywords

  • Repetitive negative thinking
  • Emotion regulation
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Transdiagnostic
  • Research Domain Criteria