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Specificity of emotion regulation deficits in social anxiety: An internet study


Silke Rusch, Department of Psychology, Philipps University of Marburg, Gutenbergstr. 18, 35032 Marburg, Germany (e-mail:


Objectives. There is evidence for an association between social anxiety and emotion regulation difficulties. This study investigates that emotion regulation difficulties are specific to two domains of social anxiety.

Design and Method. An explorative study was conducted to examine the associations between emotion regulation facets and social anxiety in the normal population. N= 149 healthy volunteers participated in an internet-based survey.

Measures. Emotion regulation deficits were measured by the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale which consists of six subscales. Social anxiety was measured by the Social Phobia Scale and the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale.

Results. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that anxiety of interactive social situations is associated with non-acceptance of negative emotions, impulse control difficulties, and lack of functional emotion regulation strategies over and above the impact of age and general psychopathology. In contrast, anxiety of being observed by others was not specifically associated with emotion regulation strategies.

Conclusion. The results support the hypothesis that specific emotion regulation deficits are relevant to specific aspects of social anxiety. Implications for further research and therapy are discussed.