Exploration of the Associations Between Responses to Affective States and Psychopathology in Two Samples of People Confronted With the Loss of a Loved One

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Abstract

Adaptive regulation of positive and negative affect after the loss of a loved one may foster recovery. In two studies, using similar methods but different samples, we explored the association between positive (i.e., dampening and enhancing) and negative (i.e., rumination) affect regulation strategies and symptoms levels of postloss psychopathology. Study 1 used data from 187 people confronted with the death of a loved one. In study 2, the sample consisted of 134 relatives of long-term missing persons. Participants completed self-reports tapping prolonged grief, depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and affect regulation strategies. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that both negative and positive affect regulation strategies explained significant amounts of variance symptom levels in both samples. In line with previous work, our results suggest that negative and positive affect regulation strategies relate to postloss psychopathology. Future research should explore how both affect regulation strategies may adequately be addressed in treatment.

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