Relative effectiveness of reappraisal and distraction in regulating emotion in late-life depression
© 2014 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Objectives The present study compares the effectiveness of two strategies, reappraisal and distraction, in reducing negative affect in older adults induced by focusing on personally relevant negative events and stressors. Participants 30 adults with major depressive disorger (MDD) and 40 never-depressed (ND) comparison participants ages 60 years and over (mean age = 69.7 years). Design and Measurements Participants underwent three affect induction trials, each followed by a different emotion regulation strategy: distraction, reappraisal, and a no-instruction control condition. Self-reported affect was recorded pre- and post-affect induction, and at one-minute intervals during regulation. Results Across groups, participants reported greater reductions in negative affect with distraction than reappraisal or the no-instruction control condition. An interaction between group and regulation condition indicated that distraction was more effective in reducing negative affect in the MDD group than the ND group. Conclusions These results suggest that distraction is an especially effective strategy for reducing negative affect in older adults with MDD. Finding ways to incorporate distraction skills into psychotherapeutic interventions for late-life MDD may improve their effectiveness, especially for short-term improvement of affect following rumination.
Smoski, MJ; Labar, KS; Steffens, DC
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