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How Does Emotion Regulation Strategy Use and Psychological Wellbeing Predict Mood in Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder? A Naturalistic Assessment

Abstract

The aim of this study was to identify emotion regulation (ER) strategies that most strongly impact momentary mood in a sample of 23 adults with and 19 without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants completed cognitive and behavioural assessments, online questionnaires, and experience sampling methodology questions. In the ASD group, the use of dampening and other-blame reduced mood while savouring and emotional acceptance improved mood. The use of self-blame and avoidance negatively impacted mood only in the non-ASD group, suggesting the use of these two strategies do not reduce mood in individuals with ASD. ER and mental health interventions should capture ER strategy use and aim to decrease maladaptive strategy use and increase adaptive strategy use.

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Acknowledgments

Amanda Richdale and Ru Ying Cai acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program, under which Ru Ying Cai was supported as an Autism CRC Ph.D. scholar under Grant number: 3.016RC. We would like to acknowledge and thank all those who participated in Ru’s Ph.D. study. We would also like to thank Dr. Emma Baker for coding the ADOS-2 videos, Ms. Jenny Luu for research support activities and Dr Peter Koval for the valuable advice on where to obtain information for analyses.

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RYC conceived of the study, collected the data, performed the statistical analysis, drafted the manuscript. ALR, CD, and MU provided intellectual feedback. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Amanda L. Richdale.

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RYC declares that she has no conflict of interest. ALR declares that she has no conflict of interest. CD declares that she has no conflict of interest. MU declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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Cai, R.Y., Richdale, A.L., Dissanayake, C. et al. How Does Emotion Regulation Strategy Use and Psychological Wellbeing Predict Mood in Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder? A Naturalistic Assessment. J Autism Dev Disord 50, 1786–1799 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-03934-0

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Keywords

  • Emotion regulation
  • Autism
  • Positive psychological wellbeing
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Experience sampling methodology