A meta-analysis of emotional regulation outcomes in psychological interventions for youth with depression and anxiety

A meta-analysis of emotional regulation outcomes in psychological interventions for youth with depression and anxiety

Daros, A. R. Haefner, S. A. Asadi, S. Kazi, S. Rodak, T. Quilty, L. C.
Nature Human Behaviour
Difficulties in applying emotional regulation (ER) skills are associated with depression and anxiety symptoms, and are common targets of treatment. This meta-analysis examined whether improvements in ER skills were associated with psychological treatment outcomes for depression and/or anxiety in youth. A multivariate, random-effects meta-analysis was run using metafor in R. Inclusion criteria included studies that were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of a psychological intervention for depression and/or anxiety in patients aged 14-24, were peer reviewed, were written in English, measured depression and/or anxiety symptoms as an outcome and measured ER as an outcome. Medline, Embase, APA PsycInfo, CINAHL and The Cochrane Library were searched up to 26 June 2020. Risk of bias (ROB) was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias 2.0 tool. The meta-analysis includes 385 effect sizes from 90 RCTs with total N = 11,652. Psychological treatments significantly reduced depression, anxiety, emotion dysregulation (k = 13, Hedges' g = 0.54, P < 0.001, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.30-0.78) and disengagement ER (k = 83, g = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.15-0.32, P < 0.001); engagement ER also increased (k = 82, g = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.15-0.32, P < 0.001). Improvements in depression and anxiety were positively associated with improved engagement ER skills, reduced emotion dysregulation and reduced disengagement ER skills. Sensitivity considered study selection and publication bias. Longer treatments, group formats and cognitive-behavioural orientations produced larger positive associations between improved ER skills and reduced symptoms. ER skill improvement is linked to depression and anxiety across a broad range of interventions for youth. Limitations of the current study include reliance on self-report measures, content overlap between variables and inability to test the directionality of associations.

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Behandling og hjelpetiltak


Psykiske vansker og lidelser

Følelsesmessige problemer

Depresjon og nedstemthet (inkl. både vansker og lidelse)


Angst og engstelighet (inkl. både vansker og lidelse)


Psykologiske behandlingsmetoder

Kognitiv atferdsterapi, atferdsterapi og kognitiv terapi



Ungdom (13-18 år)

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