The relationship between emotion regulation and well-being in patients with mental disorders: A meta-analysis

Jannis T. Kraiss*, Peter M. ten Klooster, Judith T. Moskowitz, Ernst T. Bohlmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The importance of both specific emotion regulation strategies and overall deficits in emotion regulation in the context of psychopathology is widely recognized. Besides alleviating psychological symptoms, improving mental well-being is increasingly considered important in treatment of people with mental disorders. However, no comprehensive meta-analysis on the relationship between emotion regulation and well-being in people with mental disorders has been conducted yet. Objective: The aim of the current study was to synthesize and meta-analyze evidence regarding the relationship between emotion regulation and well-being in clinical samples across studies. Method: A systematic literature search was conducted in PsycINFO, PubMed and Scopus and 94 cross-sectional effect sizes from 35 studies were meta-analyzed to explore this relationship. To be eligible for the meta-analysis, studies had to include a clinical sample, assess at least one specific emotion regulation strategy or overall deficits in emotion regulation and include well-being as outcome. Results: The findings showed significant small to moderate negative relationships with well-being for the strategies avoidance (r = −0.31) and rumination (r = −0.19) and positive relationships with reappraisal (r = 0.19) and acceptance (r = 0.42). Grouping together putative adaptive and maladaptive strategies revealed similar sized relationships with well-being in the expected direction. Overall deficits in emotion regulation showed a negative moderate correlation with well-being (r = −0.47). No substantial difference in relationships was found when clustering studies into hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that emotion regulation is not merely related with psychopathology, but also with well-being in general as well as hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Therefore, it might also be important to improve emotion regulation when aiming to improve well-being in people with mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number152189
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume102
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Emotion regulation
  • mental disorders
  • meta-analysis
  • relationship
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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