Indexed on: 16 Dec '11Published on: 16 Dec '11Published in: Journal of Anxiety Disorders
The goal of this investigation was to examine how emotional clarity and a specific emotion regulation strategy, cognitive reappraisal, interact to predict Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptom severity and positive affect among treatment seeking military Veterans (N=75, 93% male) diagnosed with PTSD. PTSD is a highly relevant context because PTSD features include heightened stress reactivity, diminished ability to differentiate and understand emotions, and reliance on maladaptive forms of emotion regulation. We found that the combination of high levels of emotional clarity and frequent use of cognitive reappraisal were associated with (a) lesser total PTSD severity after accounting for shared variance with positive affect and the extent to which emotions are attended to (attention to emotions), and (b) greater positive affect after accounting for shared variance with total PTSD severity and attention to emotions. This is the first study to demonstrate interactive effects of emotional clarity and cognitive reappraisal.