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Does the Transdiagnostic EMOTION Intervention Improve Emotion Regulation Skills in Children?



Emotion regulation is thought to be an important transdiagnostic process across internalizing disorders in youth, and the regulation of emotions is believed to play a central role in both adaptive and maladaptive development. Several preventive interventions focus on improving children’s emotion regulation skills, but research regarding the outcomes of emotion regulation skills are scarce.


We therefore investigated whether a new transdiagnostic indicated prevention intervention for anxiety and depressive symptoms, the EMOTION program, improves emotion regulation skills as reported by parents of children aged 8–12 years. Data from a large national cluster randomized control trial (RCT) study, Coping Kids, performed in Norway were used, including data from 601 children and their parents.


Using mixed models, we found a decrease in dysregulation of emotions (Δ  =  .06, CI  =  (0.00 to .11), p =  .040) and an increase in emotion regulation (Δ  =  .11, CI  =  (0.05 to .17) p  <  .001) in the intervention group compared to the control group.


The EMOTION intervention has a potential positive effect on children’s emotional regulation skills. One opportunity in transdiagnostic interventions lies in targeting common underlying processes in internalizing disorders and thereby reaching a larger proportion of the youth population than is possible with single-disorder approaches.

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Availability of Data

The dataset will be made available on reasonable request to the corresponding author.


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We would like to thank all parents and children who participated in the study, school personnel and project coordinators for their invaluable assistance with the data collection.


This research was funded by the Norwegian Research Council, award number 228846/H10.

Author Contribution

M.E.S.L. wrote the paper and performed and interpreted the analyses. A.M.S. and T.R. contributed to critically revising the paper and in interpreting the analyses. S.L. contributed to performing and interpreting the analyses. S.P.N., S.H., K.M., J.P. and F.A. contributed to critically revising the manuscript. In addition, A.M.S., S.P.N., S.H., K.M., J.P. and F.A. contributed to designing the study and collecting the data.

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Correspondence to Mona Elisabeth S. Loevaas.

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Conflict of Interest

K.M. receives royalties from the sale of EMOTION manuals in Norway. All the remaining authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the regional ethics committee (REC), Region South and East Norway (Registration number: 2013/1909; Project title: Coping Kids: a randomized controlled study of a new indicated preventive intervention for children with symptoms of anxiety and depression).

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from caregivers on behalf of the children participating in our study.

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Loevaas, M.E.S., Sund, A.M., Lydersen, S. et al. Does the Transdiagnostic EMOTION Intervention Improve Emotion Regulation Skills in Children?. J Child Fam Stud 28, 805–813 (2019).

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  • Emotion regulation
  • Youth
  • Transdiagnostic
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Prevention