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Affect regulation: Processes, interventions, and development in clinical and non-clinical populations (ARPID)

 

Abstract

Children, adolescents, and adults do not only experience emotions (e.g., anger, anxiety, or pride), moods (e.g., good mood or fatigue), and stress reactions (e.g., tension and sleeping difficulties) in a passive way. Instead, individuals actively use regulation strategies to change their affective states. In many life domains and across the life span, affect regulation processes play a major role in shaping positive relationships and maintaining subjective well-being and mental health. Moreover, dysfunctional affect regulation represents a central factor in the development and maintenance of different mental disorders. Hence, many psychological interventions that aim to increase well-being (e.g., mindfulness training) or treat disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders and depression) focus on changing how individuals regulate their affective states.

In recent years, affect regulation has developed into a very dynamic research field. In psychology, however, affect regulation is typically studied from a subdiscipline-specific perspective (e.g., of cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, biological psychology, clinical psychology, or work and organizational psychology), without an integration of research across subdisciplines. In our view, the complexity of the topic demands an approach that crosses the boundaries of subdisciplines. Hence, the consortium “Affect regulation: Processes, interventions, and development in clinical and non-clinical populations (ARPID)” aims to bridge the gap between clinical and non-clinical psychological research on affect regulation.

The planned research program of ARPID consists of five areas:

(1) Cognitive basis of affect regulation processes,

(2) life span perspective on affect regulation processes,

(3) ‘personalized’ affect regulation research (person x situation x strategy interactions),

(4) affect regulation as a transdiagnostic factor, and

(5) interventions to modify affect regulation processes.

To go beyond previous research, ARPID adopts a multimethod, process-oriented approach to affect regulation (e.g., by combining ambulatory assessment studies with laboratory studies, self-report measures with video-based or psychophysiological measures, intervention studies in different age groups with the collection of intensive-longitudinal data).