Acceptability and Suppression of Negative Emotion in Anxiety and Mood Disorders

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APA Citation: 

Campbell-Sills, L., Barlow, D. H., Brown, T. A., & Hofmann, S. G. (2006). Acceptability and suppression of negative emotion in anxiety and mood disorders. Emotion, 6(4), 587–595.

Publication Topic: 
Other Third-Wave Therapies: Empirical
Publication Type: 
emotion regulation, acceptance, suppression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders

The present study investigated perceived acceptability and suppression of negative emotion in participants with anxiety and mood disorders. Sixty participants with these disorders and 30 control participants watched an emotion-provoking film and completed self-report measures of their experience and regulation of emotions. The film elicited similar increases in negative emotion for clinical and nonclinical participants; however, clinical participants judged their resulting emotions as less acceptable and suppressed their emotions to a greater extent. The higher level of suppression in the clinical group was attributable to females in the clinical group suppressing their emotions more than females in the nonclinical group. For all participants, high levels of suppression were associated with increased negative emotion during the film and during a postfilm recovery period. Further analyses showed that appraising emotions as unacceptable mediated the relationship between negative emotion intensity and use of suppression in the clinical group. This study extends the literature on emotion regulation to a clinical sample and suggests that judging emotions as unacceptable and suppressing emotions may be important aspects of the phenomenology of emotional disorders.

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