Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Review Article

Concealing, Tolerating, and Adjusting to Emotions in Obsessive-Compulsive and Anxiety Disorders: A Cross-Sectional Study

Carla P. Loureiro, Emma Thompson, Luana D. Laurito, Maria E. Moreira-de-Oliveira, Rafaela V. Dias, Gabriela B. de Menezes, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

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Although research has shown that mood and anxiety disorders manifest disturbed emotion regulation, it is unclear whether anxiety disorders differ between each other in terms of their emotion regulation strategies. In the present study, we investigated whether patients with anxiety disorders present different affective styles. 

We assessed affective styles of 32 obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients, 29 social anxiety disorder (SAD) patients, 29 panic disorder (PD) patients, and 20 healthy controls through the Affective Style Questionnaire (ASQ). A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was performed to compare the affective styles across groups (OCD, SAD, PD and control), while controlling for depression, anxiety symptoms and age. 

The MANCOVA revealed a significant, small-medium, main effect of diagnostic group on affective styles. The planned contrasts revealed that OCD and SAD patients reported significantly lower scores for “tolerance” (ASQ-T) compared to healthy controls group. There were no differences between PD group and healthy controls.

Our findings provide evidence that OCD and SAD have difficulty tolerating strong emotions existing in the present moment in an open and non-defensive way.


Affective style; ASQ; Emotion Regulation; OCD; Anxiety Disorders

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