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

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Abstract: 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. 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. 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. 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)854-868
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would thank to the students who participated in this study and also the teachers and parents for their support and engagement with the project, without this this research could not have taken place. All R code is provided in the online supplementary materials.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Adolescent Psychopathology
  • Comorbidity
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • emotional regulation
  • Emotional regulation
  • Network analysis
  • Article
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Adolescent psychopathology


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