Emotional Regulation Difficulties, Distress Tolerance and Psychopathological Symptoms

Keywords: psychopathology, distress, mental health, depression, anxiety, emotion


Emotion Regulation (ER) has been identified as a factor that may be related to psychopathological symptoms. However, evidence about the relationship between ER and psychopathological symptoms is still unspecific. Moreover, although the ability of distress tolerance (DT) has gained increasing attention, it has not yet been sufficiently explored in relation to specific psychopathological symptoms. The aim of the study was to analyze the role of different specific ER mechanisms on various psychopathological symptoms, with particular emphasis on the role of DT. To do so, a correlational study was carried out.  A total of 128 university students between 18 and 44 years old (mean age = 26.7, SD = 6.14) answered the Distress Tolerance Scale, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale and the Symptom Check List 90-Revised. For each psychopathological symptom (and for general distress), linear regression were applied. All models were statistically significant with differences in the amount of explained variance and in the predictors. DT predicted symptoms of depression, anxiety, obsessions and compulsions and general distress. The study highlights the importance of the different mechanisms of ER in each specific psychopathological symptom and their implications for mental health.


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