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Emotion Regulation Difficulties Related to Depression and Anxiety: A Network Approach to Model Relations among Symptoms, Positive Reappraisal, and Repetitive Negative Thinking
Frequent repetitive negative thinking and infrequent positive reappraisal use are theorized to increase risk for depression and anxiety. Yet, research has studied these regulatory strategies at the disorder level, ignoring the clinical heterogeneity and differential relations among their individual symptoms. This study examined the associations among repetitive negative thinking, positive reappraisal and individual symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. Regularized partial correlation network models were estimated using cross-sectional data from 468 community individuals with varying depression and anxiety levels. Results showed that repetitive negative thinking and positive reappraisal were differentially related to affective, cognitive, and somatic symptoms of depression and anxiety. Regarding depression symptoms, repetitive negative thinking was positively related to guilty feelings, changes in appetite, agitation, self-criticalness, and sadness. Positive reappraisal was negatively related to pessimism. Regarding anxiety symptoms, repetitive negative thinking was positively related to fear of losing control, fear of worst happening, unable to relax, and nervousness. Positive reappraisal was negatively related to fear of worst happening. Moreover, repetitive negative thinking was more central than positive reappraisal with stronger connections to the individual symptoms. Finally, repetitive negative thinking was more important than positive reappraisal in connecting different (clusters of) depression and anxiety symptoms. These findings cast light on potential pathways through which repetitive negative thinking and positive reappraisal may operate within depression and anxiety.