Emotion regulation in depression: The role of biased cognition and reduced cognitive control

Jutta Joormann, W. Michael Vanderlind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Sustained negative affect and difficulties experiencing positive affect are hallmark features of major depressive disorder. Recent research has suggested that difficulties in emotion regulation are at the core of these cardinal symptoms of major depressive disorder; depressed patients exhibit more frequent use of maladaptive emotion regulation and difficulties effectively implementing adaptive strategies. It remains unclear, however, what underlies these difficulties in emotion regulation. Cognitive theories of depression have a long tradition of focusing on cognitive factors that increase depression risk and maintain depressive episodes, but the link between cognitive and affective aspects of major depressive disorder remains to be explored. We propose that cognitive biases and deficits in cognitive control putatively associated with depression affect emotion regulation in critical ways, thereby setting the stage for maintained negative affect and diminished levels of positive affect. We close with a discussion of implications for treatment and future directions for research in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-421
Number of pages20
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biases
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Emotion
  • Emotion regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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