The Regulation of Emotion in Anxiety and Depression (READ) Lab
is focused on understanding and treating chronic and recurrent forms of anxiety and mood disorders, particularly generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depression (MDD). Our research program uses an affect science perspective to understand and treat these disorders, particularly in their most complex forms (high levels of comorbidity, unyielding course, poor life satisfaction, refractory response to treatment) with the aim of expanding our knowledge of their etiology, development and maintenance across the lifespan.
Currently, Our Work involves Testing Aspects of An Emotion Regulation Model...
...that highlights how emotions are poorly processed and become dysregulated in these conditions. This perspective stresses a number of emotion characteristics that are relevant to adult psychopathology and its treatment.
First, although not always productive, emotions are signals for both approach and avoidance motivations in service of survival adaptation or societal function. Second, emotions are defined by multiple interacting systems, which operate through both convergent and divergent means. Third, these emotion systems mutually regulate each other in order to maintain stability through changing environmental contexts.
This regulatory function of emotions has been shown to be important to well being and to the promotion of mental health. In contrast, disorder and dysfunction may represent perturbations to the flexible balancing of these emotional response systems.
Our Work Involves testing aspects of This Model Through:
- Experimental delineation of multicomponential (i.e., subjective, physiological, expressive) processes that contribute to emotion reactivity and dysregulation in GAD, MDD, and their co-occurrence
- Development of more ecologically-valid measures of emotion-related deficits relevant to anxiety and mood disorders, which might be sensitive to treatment change
- The development of an integrative emotion regulation treatment for GAD and accompanying MDD.