Although emotional clarity contributes to effective emotion regulation and has been suggested as a target for transdiagnostic interventions, little is known about how emotional clarity impacts symptoms and emotion regulation success in daily life. The present study examined the association of emotional clarity with internalizing symptoms (i.e., depression, social anxiety, panic, and worry) in a clinical sample assessed in naturalistic settings over the course of 10 days, examining both within-person and between-person models. In addition, emotion regulation success was tested as a mediator of the association between emotional clarity and symptoms. The sample consisted of 129 diagnostically heterogeneous adults currently seeking or receiving mental health treatment. Multilevel structural equation modeling indicated that momentary emotional clarity was not significantly associated with subsequent momentary internalizing symptoms at either level, with the exception of a negative association with panic at the between-person level. However, lower momentary emotional clarity was indirectly associated with greater subsequent momentary internalizing symptoms via less successful momentary emotion regulation at both levels, and for some symptoms there was evidence of a bidirectional feedback loop. Overall, the present study provides support for the transdiagnostic nature of emotional clarity and clarifies the mechanisms by which emotional clarity may impact symptoms over time in daily life. Theoretical and clinical implications for the role of emotional clarity in psychopathology are discussed.
Emotion – American Psychological Association
Published: Aug 27, 2018
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