What Impact does Motivational Dispositions have on Mood Symptoms & Emotional Regulation?

Research Paper Title

Psychopathological Correlates and Emotion Regulation as Mediators of Approach and Avoidance Motivation in a Chinese Military Sample.

Background

Approach and avoidance motivation have been thoroughly studied in common mental disorders, which are prevalent in the military context.

Approach/avoidance motivational dispositions underlie emotion responses and are thought to influence emotion dysregulation.

However, studies on the mediating role of emotion regulation (ER) between motivational dispositions and mental disorders have been insufficient.

The researchers examined the psychopathological correlates of motivational dispositions and explored the mediating role of ER.

Methods

The Behavioural Inhibition System and Behavioural Activation System (BIS/BAS) scales and measures of mood disorders (depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD) were administered to a nonclinical sample of 3,146 Chinese military service members.

The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire for Army men (ERQ-A) (Chinese version) was used to measure ER styles.

They examined the reliability and construct validity of the BIS/BAS scales.

Approach/avoidance motivations were correlated with symptoms of mood disorders.

Mediation analysis was conducted to confirm the mediating role of ER between motivation and mood disorders.

Results

The results showed acceptable internal reliability and construct validity of the BIS/BAS scales. Gender (female), family status (single-parent family), and social relationships (having fewer good friends) were significant predictors of high BIS sensitivity.

More years of education, an older age, being an only child and being in a single-parent family all significantly predicted high BAS sensitivity.

The BIS/BAS scales were predictive of various DSM-V-based mental disorders (depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD).

Immersion exacerbated the impact of BAS/BIS sensitivities on depressive/PTSD symptoms, while reinterpretation and talking out alleviated the impact of BAS/BIS sensitivities on these symptoms.

Conclusions

Motivational dispositions have an impact on mood symptoms under specific conditions.

ER strategies (immersion, reinterpretation, and talking out) were shown to be partial mediators between approach/avoidance motivation and mood disorders.

These findings highlight the importance of ER in altering the impact of motivational dispositions on mood disorders and as a promising target of psychotherapies.

Reference

Wang, X., Zhang, R., Chen, X., Liu, K., Wang, L., Zhang, J., Liu, X. & Feng, Z. (2019) Psychopathological Correlates and Emotion Regulation as Mediators of Approach and Avoidance Motivation in a Chinese Military Sample. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 10:149. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00149. eCollection 2019.

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