Choosing how to feel: emotion regulation choice in bipolar disorder

Aleena C. Hay, Gal Sheppes, James J. Gross, June Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals with bipolar disorder experience emotion regulation difficulties, even during remission, but are able to effectively employ emotion regulation strategies when instructed. We hypothesized that this puzzling discrepancy might be due to their maladaptive emotion regulation choices. To test this hypothesis, we used a previously validated paradigm (Sheppes, Scheibe, Suri, & Gross, 2011; Sheppes et al., 2014), and asked remitted individuals with bipolar I disorder (n = 25) and healthy individuals (n = 26) to view standardized positive and negative images of high and low intensity, and choose reappraisal or distraction to decrease their emotion intensity. Replicating and extending prior results, participants across both groups showed a pattern of choosing distraction more for high versus low intensity positive and negative images, but no between-groups differences were evident. These results suggest that emotion regulation choice patterns may be robust across samples, and add to growing evidence that several basic emotion regulation elements may remain intact in bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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