The association between depressive symptoms and emotion recognition is moderated by emotion regulation
Authors: Aldinger M, Stopsack M, Barnow S, Rambau S, Spitzer C, Schnell K, Ulrich I
CellNetworks People: Schnell Knut
Journal: Psychiatry Res. 2013 Jan 30;205(1-2):59-66. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.08.032. Epub 2012 Sep 15

In this study, we examined the associations between depression and aspects of emotional functioning, namely emotion recognition, affectivity and interpersonal problems. Particularly, the moderating role of emotion regulation in these interrelations was tested in a sample of 85 women, who exhibited a wide range of depressive symptoms (Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)). Emotion recognition was assessed with a paradigm displaying a widely used set of photographs of the six basic emotions in graded intensities. Further, participants were examined regarding emotion regulation (Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ)), interpersonal problems (Inventory of Interpersonal Problems-Circumplex (IIP-C)) and affectivity (Affect Intensity Measure (AIM), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS)). Besides correlation analyses, Johnson-Neyman technique for probing interactions in linear regression models was applied to test for possible moderating effects. Depressive symptoms were positively correlated with error rates in anger recognition, but not with the other basic emotions. This association was moderated by suppression in that regard that more severely depressed women who more frequently used suppression showed superior recognition of angry faces than those with lower suppression values. Further, suppression was associated with an affective imbalance and interpersonal problems in women with current depressive disorder. In sum, our results emphasize the importance of differentiating subtypes of depression depending on emotion regulation capabilities for research on or treatment of emotional functioning in depression.