Interventions targeting emotion regulation: A systematic umbrella review

Interventions targeting emotion regulation: A systematic umbrella review

Saccaro, L. F. Giff, A. De Rossi, M. M. Piguet, C.
Journal of Psychiatric Research
BACKGROUND: Emotion dysregulation (ED), the difficulty in modulating which emotions are felt, and when and how they are expressed or experienced, has been implicated in an array of psychological disorders. Despite potentially different manifestations depending on the disorder, this symptom is emerging as a transdiagnostic construct that can and should be targeted early, given the associations with various maladaptive behaviors as early as childhood and adolescence. As such, our goal was to investigate the psychotherapeutic interventions used to address ED and gauge their effectiveness, safety, and potential mechanisms across various populations. METHODS: This umbrella systematic review, pre-registered under PROSPERO (registration: CRD42023411452), consolidates evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on psychotherapeutic interventions targeting ED, in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. RESULTS: Our synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence from 21 systematic reviews (including 11 meta-analyses) points-with moderate overall risk of bias-to the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in reducing ED in a wide range of adult transdiagnostic psychiatric patients and healthy participants. Similar results have emerged in other less extensively researched methods as well. However, results on adolescents and children are sparse, highlighting the need for additional research to tailor these interventions to the unique challenges of ED in younger populations with diverse externalizing and internalizing disorders. CONCLUSIONS: These demonstrated transdiagnostic advantages of psychotherapy for ED underscore the potential for specifically designed interventions that address this issue directly, particularly for high-risk individuals. In these individuals, early interventions targeting transdiagnostic core dimensions may mitigate the emergence of full-blown disorders. Future research on the mediating factors, the durability of intervention effects, and the exploration of understudied interventions and populations may enhance prevention and treatment efficiency, enhancing the quality of life for those affected by varied manifestations of ED.

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Type of intervention

Treatment and Child Welfare Interventions


Development and Life Coping Skills

Stress Management and Self-regulation


Psychological Treatments

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapy


Age group

School Aged Children (6-12 years)

Adolescents (13-18 years)


Overviews of Reviews

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