How does interpersonal emotion regulation explain psychological distress? The roles of attachment style and social support


PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, vol.176, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 176
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.paid.2021.110763


Current studies emphasize that emotion regulation has an interpersonal aspect in addition to its intrapersonal aspect. Interpersonal emotion regulation (IER) reflects the strategies that express how people use others to regulate their own emotions and is correlated with some psychological symptoms. Despite its importance, there are a limited number of studies. The present study investigates the relationships between IER, attachment style, and perceived social support. Additionally, the serial mediation model was tested to determine the mediating role of IER and social support in the relationship between anxious attachment style and psychological distress. Data were collected from 444 adults using scales assessing IER, attachment patterns, perceived social support, and psychological symptoms. Results indicated significant positive associations between IER dimensions and anxious attachment, and negative associations with avoidant attachment. The strongest correlation was between anxious attachment and soothing strategy (as one IER strategy). A structural equation model demonstrated that attachment anxiety statistically predicted depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms mediated by soothing and social support. The findings assert that IER strategies may originate from attachment styles, also explain psychological distress mediated by perceived social support.