Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Better understanding difficulties in emotion regulation may help integrate a conceptualization for the etiology of a number of emotional disorders, such as depression or anxiety, and personality disorders. However, one deficit in extant literature has been in identifying a widely accepted measure in assessing problems with emotion regulation. A number of emotion regulation measures are currently used in the literature. Because each measure addresses regulation from a different perspective, the definition of emotion regulation remains unclear. Gratz and Roemer (2004) provide an integrated conceptualization for emotion regulation that accounts for the many ways in which emotions may affect the expression of psychological disorders. Gratz and Roemer constructed the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) to assess various areas in which one might experiences problems with emotion regulation. The DERS is a 36-item scale that has six factors related to emotion regulation: Awareness, Non-acceptance, Clarity, Impulsivity, Strategies, and Goals. The purpose of this study was to perform a confirmatory factor analysis on the DERS, and to examine its predictive validity for disorders that are associated with difficulties in emotion regulation. The data for this study was collected from part of a larger study on emotion regulation. Participants consisted of undergraduates at a rural mid-western university who completed a survey packet including the DERS, the Trait Meta-Mood Scale (TMMS) the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESDS), and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL). It hypothesized that a six factor solution would be found, validating the findings of Gratz and Roemer (2004). It was also expected that total DERS scores will be associated with CESDS and PCL scores, suggesting that participants who scored higher on these measures of depression and PTSD would also report difficulties with emotion regulation. The DERS factors were expected to be related to corresponding factors on the TMMS. Results indicated that although a 6-factor solution was supported, several modifications were needed to the original model in order to achieve acceptable goodness of fit index values. Additionally, a number of other suggestions for changes to the measure, including re-wording several of the items or the possible removal of the Awareness factor, are discussed.
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