Brief report: Cross-sectional interactions between expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal and its relationship with depressive symptoms in autism spectrum disorder

Published October 2017
Abstract
The aim of this study was to explore and characterize the nature of the inter-relationship between cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression emotion regulation strategies and depressive symptoms. One hundred and twenty-one adolescents and adults with ASD aged 14–79 years (Mage = 32.18; SDage = 15.71) completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and Autism Spectrum Quotient-Short (AQ-Short). Individuals were recruited into two nation-wide studies. Participants self-reported a clinical diagnosis of ASD and had an AQ-Short score above the suggested cut-off of 65. Correlation and regression analyses, independent-samples t-tests, Kruskal-Wallis, and post-hoc Mann-Whitney U tests were conducted. Higher depression levels were related to high suppression and low reappraisal use. Both suppression and reappraisal predicted variance in symptoms of depression over and above ASD traits. Individuals who self-reported high suppression and low reappraisal use expressed higher depressive symptoms than individuals who reported high use of both suppression and reappraisal. This is the first study in ASD that aimed to characterize the interactions between adaptive (reappraisal) and maladaptive (suppression) strategy use. Our results demonstrate that reappraisal may serve as a protective factor for mental health in individuals who habitually use maladaptive strategies such as suppression.
Citation
Cai, R. Y., Richdale, A. L., Foley, K-R., Trollor, J., & Uljarević, M. (2017). Brief report: Cross-sectional interactions between expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal and its relationship with depressive symptoms in autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 45, 1-8. doi 10.1016/j.rasd.2017.10.002

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