Adult attachment and social anxiety: The mediating role of emotion regulation strategies.
ABSTRACT: Despite extensive evidence relating attachment dimensions to maladaptive interpersonal behaviours and dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies, few studies have explored social anxiety in the context of adult attachment dimensions. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether attachment-related anxiety and avoidance are associated with symptoms of social anxiety and whether cognitive emotion regulation strategies (reappraisal and suppression) play a role in the relationship between adult attachment and social anxiety. A sample of 253 adults (male n = 47, 18.6%; female n = 202, 79.8%; gender not disclosed n = 4, 1.6%) ranging in age from 18 to 74 years (M = 33.12, SD = 11.56) completed an online questionnaire that consisted of the Experience in Close Relationships-Revised Questionnaire (ECR-R); The Inventory of Interpersonal Situations Discomfort scale (IIS-D); and The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ). Results indicated that both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance have a direct effect on indices of social anxiety symptomology. Reappraisal partially mediated the relationship between attachment anxiety and social anxiety. However, the relationship between attachment avoidance and social anxiety was not mediated by the use of reappraisal and suppression. Findings of the study have implications for the development of clinical interventions targeting mediators of psychological distress associated with social anxiety.
Project description:Emotion regulation is thought to involve communication between and within large-scale brain networks that underlie emotion reactivity and cognitive control. Aberrant network interaction might therefore be a key neural feature of mental disorders that involve emotion dysregulation. Here we tested whether connectivity hierarchies within and between emotion reactivity and cognitive reappraisal networks distinguishes social anxiety disorder (SAD) patients (n = 70) from healthy controls (HC) (n = 25). To investigate network organization, we implemented a graph-theory method called Dependency Network Analysis. Participants underwent fMRI while watching or reappraising video clips involving interpersonal verbal criticism. During reappraisal, the reappraisal network exerted less influence on the reactivity network in SAD participants. Specifically, the influence of the right inferior frontal gyrus on both reappraisal and reactivity networks was significantly reduced in SAD compared with HC, and correlated negatively with negative emotion ratings among SAD participants. Surprisingly, the amygdala exhibited reduced influence on the reappraisal network in SAD relative to HC. Yet, during the watch condition, the left amygdala's influence on the reactivity network increased with greater social anxiety symptoms among SAD participants. These findings refine our understanding of network organization that contributes to efficient reappraisal or to disturbances in applying this strategy in SAD.
Project description:Self-compassion has been consistently linked to psychological well-being. The ability to be self-compassionate may be shaped by early attachment experiences and associated with interpersonal difficulties. However, evidence has yet to be extended to clinical populations. This study examined the role of self-compassion and its relationship with attachment and interpersonal problems in clinical patients with anxiety and depression. Participants (N = 74; 60% female, mean age 40 years) were recruited from a primary care psychological therapies service in Scotland, UK. Participants completed four self-report questionnaires assessing self-compassion, attachment, interpersonal problems and emotional distress (including depression and anxiety). Low self-compassion, attachment-related avoidance (but not attachment-related anxiety) and high interpersonal problems were all associated with higher levels of emotional distress and anxiety. Low self-compassion and high interpersonal problems were predicted by attachment-related avoidance. Self-compassion mediated the relationship between attachment-related avoidance and emotional distress and anxiety. This was a cross-sectional design and therefore a definitive conclusion cannot be drawn regarding causal relationships between these variables. Self-reported questionnaires were subject to response bias. This study has extended the evidence base regarding the role of self-compassion in patients with clinical levels of depression and anxiety. Notably, our findings indicated that self-compassion may be a particularly important construct, both theoretically and clinically, in understanding psychological distress amongst those with higher levels of attachment avoidance. This study supports the development and practice of psychotherapeutic approaches, such as compassion-focused therapy for which there is a growing evidence base.
Project description:This study aimed to develop an explanatory model of sexual satisfaction in same-sex attracted individuals with a partner, based on personal and interpersonal variables. The participants were 410 men (mean age = 29.24, SD = 9.84) and 410 women (mean age = 29, SD = 8.57) who maintained a relationship with another person of the same sex. Internalized homophobia was considered as a personal variable, and as interpersonal variables, the dimensions of attachment (anxiety and avoidance), sexual functioning, dyadic adjustment, relationship satisfaction, the components of the Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction, the number of sexual costs and the number of sexual rewards were considered. The degree to which sexual satisfaction was related to these variables was examined separately, for both men and women, through multiple linear regression models within the framework of structural equation models. The results indicated that sexual satisfaction is associated in a negative sense with internalized homophobia, the number of sexual costs, anxiety, and avoidance, and in a positive sense with the remaining variables. Relational variables were more relevant in the explanation of sexual satisfaction. The clinical implications are discussed.
Project description:Self-management strategies are essential elements of evidence-based treatment in patients with chronic conditions in primary care. Our objective was to analyse different self-management skills and behaviours and their association to adult attachment in primary care patients with multiple chronic conditions.In the apricare study (Adult Attachment in Primary Care) we used a prospective longitudinal design to examine the association between adult attachment and self-management in primary care patients with multimorbidity. The attachment dimensions avoidance and anxiety were measured using the ECR-RD. Self-management skills were measured by the FERUS (motivation to change, coping, self-efficacy, hope, social support) and self-management-behaviour by the DSMQ (glucose management, dietary control, physical activity, health-care use). Clinical diagnosis and severity of disease were assessed by the patients' GPs. Multivariate analyses (GLM) were used to assess the relationship between the dimensions of adult attachment and patient self-management.219 patients in primary care with multiple chronic conditions (type II diabetes, hypertension and at least one other chronic condition) between the ages of 50 and 85 were included in the study. The attachment dimension anxiety was positively associated with motivation to change and negatively associated with coping, self-efficacy and hope, dietary control and physical activity. Avoidance was negatively associated with coping, self-efficacy, social support and health care use.The two attachment dimensions anxiety and avoidance are associated with different components of self-management. A personalized, attachment-based view on patients with chronic diseases could be the key to effective, individual self-management approaches in primary care.
Project description:Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD) may decrease social anxiety by training emotion regulation skills. This randomized controlled trial of CBT for SAD examined changes in weekly frequency and success of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression, as well as weekly intensity of social anxiety among patients receiving 16 weekly sessions of individual CBT. We expected these variables to (1) differ from pre-to-post-CBT vs. Waitlist, (2) have differential trajectories during CBT, and (3) covary during CBT. We also expected that weekly changes in emotion regulation would predict (4) subsequent weekly changes in social anxiety, and (5) changes in social anxiety both during and post-CBT. Compared to Waitlist, CBT increased cognitive reappraisal frequency and success, decreased social anxiety, but had no impact on expressive suppression. During CBT, weekly cognitive reappraisal frequency and success increased, whereas weekly expressive suppression frequency and social anxiety decreased. Weekly decreases in social anxiety were associated with concurrent increases in reappraisal success and decreases in suppression frequency. Granger causality analysis showed that only reappraisal success increases predicted decreases in subsequent social anxiety during CBT. Reappraisal success increases pre-to-post-CBT predicted reductions in social anxiety symptom severity post-CBT. The trajectory of weekly changes in emotion regulation strategies may help clinicians understand whether CBT is effective and predict decreases in social anxiety.NCT00380731; http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00380731?term=social+anxiety+cognitive+behavioral+therapy+Stanford&rank=1.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: The Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS) as a performance task discriminates between implicit or subconscious and explicit or conscious levels of emotional awareness. An impaired awareness of one's feeling states may influence emotion regulation strategies and self-reports of negative emotions. To determine this influence, we applied the LEAS and self-report measures for emotion regulation strategies and negative affect in a representative sample of the German general population. SAMPLE AND METHODS: A short version of the LEAS, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), assessing reappraisal and suppression as emotion regulation strategies, were presented to N?=?2524 participants of a representative German community study. The questionnaire data were analyzed with regard to the level of emotional awareness. RESULTS: LEAS scores were independent from depression, but related to self-reported anxiety. Although of small or medium effect size, different correlational patters between emotion regulation strategies and negative affectivity were related to implict and explict levels of emotional awareness. In participants with implicit emotional awareness, suppression was related to higher anxiety and depression, whereas in participants with explicit emotional awareness, in addition to a positive relationship of suppression and depression, we found a negative relationship of reappraisal to depression. These findings were independent of age. In women high use of suppression and little use of reappraisal were more strongly related to negative affect than in men. DISCUSSION: Our first findings suggest that conscious awareness of emotions may be a precondition for the use of reappraisal as an adaptive emotion regulation strategy. They encourage further research in the relation between subconsious and conscious emotional awareness and the prefarance of adaptive or maladaptive emotion regulation strategies The correlational trends found in a representative sample of the general population may become more pronounced in clinical samples.
Project description:Previous experimental studies have regarded distraction, an emotional regulation strategy, as an attentional disengagement strategy and considered it to be maladaptive in the long term. This study intends to further examine the relationship between distraction and negative emotions by using a questionnaire and a multiple mediation model. A total of 723 college students completed the distraction, cognitive reappraisal and problem-solving subscales of the Measurement of Affect Regulation Styles, the Needs Satisfaction Questionnaire, the Meaningful Life Measure, and the Emotional Experience Questionnaire of Well-being. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was performed, and mediation effects were tested. The results showed that (1) distraction was used significantly more frequently than problem-solving and cognitive reappraisal, with a large effect size (partial ?2 = 0.321 > 0.138), and (2) distraction had an effect on negative emotions through two multiple mediation paths, i.e., positive emotion-cognitive reappraisal-meaning in life, and positive emotion-problem-solving-needs satisfaction. Distraction reduces negative emotions by enhancing positive emotions and facilitating cognitive reappraisal, problem-solving, meaning in life and needs satisfaction. It is not a kind of avoidance but a temporary rest to strive for a better life.
Project description:We examined whether Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD) would modify self-reported negative emotion and functional magnetic resonance imaging brain responses when reacting to and reappraising social evaluation, and tested whether changes would predict treatment outcome in 59 patients with SAD who completed CBT or waitlist groups. For reactivity, compared to waitlist, CBT resulted in (a) increased brain responses in right superior frontal gyrus (SFG), inferior parietal lobule (IPL), and middle occipital gyrus (MOG) when reacting to social praise, and (b) increases in right SFG and IPL and decreases in left posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) when reacting to social criticism. For reappraisal, compared to waitlist, CBT resulted in greater (c) reductions in self-reported negative emotion, and (d) increases in brain responses in right SFG and MOG, and decreases in left pSTG. A linear regression found that after controlling for CBT-induced changes in reactivity and reappraisal negative emotion ratings and brain changes in reactivity to praise and criticism, reappraisal of criticism brain response changes predicted 24% of the unique variance in CBT-related reductions in social anxiety. Thus, one mechanism underlying CBT for SAD may be changes in reappraisal-related brain responses to social criticism.NCT00380731. http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00380731?term=social+anxiety+cognitive+behavioral+therapy+Stanford&rank=1.
Project description:Teaching is an emotionally challenging profession, sometimes resulting in high levels of teacher stress, burnout, and attrition. It has often been claimed that certain emotion regulation strategies can lower teachers' feelings of burnout. The use of cognitive reappraisal (i.e., cognitively changing the emotional impact of a situation) has generally been associated with positive outcomes, whereas using expressive suppression (i.e., inhibiting emotional responses) usually has negative consequences. The present study investigated the association between teachers' typical use of these two emotion regulation strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) and their feelings of emotional exhaustion. Because there is evidence that regulating emotions could involve higher costs when regulation goes against individual preferences, we also explored the potentially moderating effect of teachers' implicit attitudes toward emotion regulation versus emotion expression on the association between typical use of emotion regulation strategies and teachers' emotional exhaustion with an Implicit Association Test (IAT). We included the interpersonal teacher-student relationship (in terms of teacher agency and communion), teacher experience, and teacher gender as covariates in our analyses. Participants were 94 teachers in secondary education, vocational education, and teacher training for secondary education. Replicating findings from prior studies, hierarchical regression analyses showed that typical use of cognitive reappraisal, but not expressive suppression, was significantly related to lower levels of teachers' emotional exhaustion. Teachers' implicit attitudes toward emotion regulation versus emotion expression moderated the relationship between the use of emotion regulation strategies and emotional exhaustion, but only in a subsample with more experienced teachers. Teachers who showed more interpersonal agency in class and had more years of teaching experience reported lower levels of emotional exhaustion. Interpersonal communion and gender were not directly associated with feelings of exhaustion. Implications for teacher training and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Project description:Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD) is thought to enhance cognitive reappraisal in patients with SAD. Such improvements should be evident in cognitive reappraisal-related prefrontal cortex responses.To determine whether CBT for SAD modifies cognitive reappraisal-related prefrontal cortex neural signal magnitude and timing when implementing cognitive reappraisal with negative self-beliefs. DESIGN Randomized clinical trial of CBT for SAD vs wait-list control group during a study that enrolled patients from 2007 to 2010.University psychology department.Seventy-five patients with generalized SAD randomly assigned to CBT or wait list.Sixteen sessions of individual CBT for SAD.Negative emotion ratings and functional magnetic resonance imaging blood oxygen-level dependent signal when reacting to and cognitively reappraising negative self-beliefs embedded in autobiographical social anxiety situations. RESULTS During reactivity trials, compared with wait list, CBT produced (1) greater reduction in negative emotion ratings and (2) greater blood oxygen-level dependent signal magnitude in the medial prefrontal cortex. During cognitive reappraisal trials, compared with wait list, CBT produced (3) greater reduction in negative emotion ratings, (4) greater blood oxygen level-dependent signal magnitude in the dorsolateral and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, (5) earlier temporal onset of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activity, and (6) greater dorsomedial prefrontal cortex-amygdala inverse functional connectivity.Modulation of cognitive reappraisal-related brain responses, timing, and functional connectivity may be important brain changes that contribute to the effectiveness of CBT for social anxiety. This study demonstrates that clinically applied neuroscience investigations can elucidate neurobiological mechanisms of change in psychiatric conditions.clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00380731.