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Examining Facets of Depression and Social Anxiety: The Relation among Lack of Positive Affect, Negative Cognitions, and Emotion Dysregulation

  • Ivan Blanco (a1) and Jutta Joormann (a2)

Depression and Social Anxiety Disorder are commonly conceptualized by the presence of negative affect. However, these disorders are also characterized by lack of positive affect, presence of negative cognitions, and emotion dysregulation which may play an important role in the onset and maintenance of these disorders. The present study explored differences among these variables in 189 clinical patients diagnosed with Major Depression, Social Anxiety Disorder, or both. Results showed differences in lack of positivity F(2, 185) = 18.92, p = .0001, η2 = .17, presence of negative cognitions F(2, 185) = 13.97, p = .0001, η2 = .13, and the use of rumination F(2, 185) = 14.63, p = .0001, η2 = .14 and punishment F(2, 181) = 7.64, p = .001, η2 = .08 among groups. Overall, lack of positivity, negative cognitions, and emotion dysregulation were elevated in the comorbid group, whereas lack of positivity and negative cognitions were specifically found for patients diagnosed with depression compared to socially anxious patients. In addition, the study examined the relation of both, lack of positivity and negative cognitions, to emotion regulation processes among groups. Overall, lack of positivity was associated with fear and avoidance in the social anxiety group (all r > .417, p < .01), whereas lack of positivity and negative cognitions were associated with rumination across the three groups (all r > .370, p < .01). Limitations of the present study and future directions are discussed.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ivan Blanco. Facultad de Psicología. Universidad Complutense. Madrid (Spain). Phone: +34–913942984. E-mail:
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This work was supported by MINECO grants. Ivan Blanco was supported by MINECO PSI2014–61764 (EXPLORA), PSI2014–56303-REDT, PSI2015–69253-R and, EEBB-I-16–11498. We also thank Teodoro Pascual and Teresa Boemo for their collaboration.

How to cite this article:

Blanco, I., & Joormann, J. (2017). Examining facets of depression and social anxiety: The relation among lack of positive affect, negative cognitions, and emotion dysregulation. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 20. e51. Doi:10.1017/sjp.2017.43

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