The Role of Emotional Regulation in Anxiety and Depression symptom interplay and expression among adolescent females

Emily McGlinchey, Karen Kirby, Eoin McElroy, Jamie Murphy

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Objective: Depression and anxiety are highly comorbid constructs. However little is known about the mechanisms that underpin this comorbidity/connectivity or the divergence between constructs that seems to occur in adolescence. The current study targeted emotion regulation (ER) as a potential plausible mechanism for explaining how anxiety and depression symptoms in adolescence might begin to connect, perpetuate, and ultimately diverge from one another.
Method: Using data from a cross-sectional school-based study, of adolescent females (age 11- 18 years; N=615; majority were white (97.7%)), we modelled variation in ER using latent profile analysis. Then, using network analysis (NA), we generated separate depression-anxiety symptom networks for adolescents at varying levels of ER.
Results: Three latent classes of ER were identified (low ER 15%, intermediate ER 34%, high ER 51%). The results of the network comparison test found no significant differences in global strength between the ‘low ER’ and the ‘intermediate ER’ ability network.
Conclusions: This study is among the first to attempt to model change in depression-anxiety symptom connectivity in adolescence in relation to a common contextual/risk factor. The current study therefore offers a unique contribution to the examination of the role of transdiagnostic factors in the study of adolescent depression and anxiety from a network perspective, and provides a promising framework for the study of ER among anxiety and depression symptomatology in adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2021


  • Adolescent Psychopathology
  • Comorbidity
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • emotional regulation


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