Cognitive emotion regulation in euthymic bipolar disorder

Larissa Wolkenstein, Julia C. Zwick, Martin Hautzinger, Jutta Joormann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background Based on findings indicating increased stress reactivity and prolonged stress recovery in individuals with bipolar disorder (BD), it has been proposed that emotion regulation (ER) deficits lie at the core of this disorder. Recent studies show an increased use of maladaptive ER strategies and a decreased use of adaptive ER strategies in BD. Whether this pattern is merely a correlate of affective episodes or might be a stable characteristic of BD, however, remains to be explored. In addition, it is unclear whether these deficits in ER are specific to people with a history of BD. Methods We examined whether euthymic BD individuals differ from healthy controls (HC) and individuals with a history of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) with respect to the cognitive ER strategies they habitually use (CERQ) in response to negative affect. The sample consisted of 42 bipolar patients, 43 patients with MDD and 39 HC. Results Compared to HC, euthymic BD and MDD individuals reported increased use of rumination, catastrophizing, and self-blame alongside decreased use of positive reappraisal, and putting into perspective. No differences were found between BD and MDD groups. Limitations These findings are based on self-reports reflecting the habitual use of ER-strategies. The use of more objective methods and the examination of the spontaneous use of ER-strategies in euthymic BD would be desirable. Conclusions Deficits in the habitual use of ER strategies may characterize BD and MDD individuals even outside of an acute episode and thereby play a role in the recurrence of affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of affective disorders
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Affective disorders
  • Bipolar
  • CERQ
  • Depression
  • Emotion regulation
  • Euthymic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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