Individuals can exert considerable control over their experience and expression of emotion by applying different regulatory strategies such as reappraisal and suppression. However, although it has been suggested that blunted affect in schizophrenia, characterized by markedly reduced emotion expressivity alongside apparently normal emotion experience, may reflect overuse of suppression, no study to date has assessed self-reported use of these different emotion regulatory strategies in relation to this disorder. In the present study, 41 individuals with schizophrenia and 38 control participants completed a self-report measure that differentiated between use of suppression and reappraisal. Symptom severity and various aspects of cognitive and psychosocial functioning were also assessed. Relative to controls, individuals with schizophrenia did not differ with regard to their reported use of suppression and reappraisal, and reported use of both strategies was unrelated to clinical ratings of blunted affect. However, whereas (lower) use of reappraisal was associated with greater social function impairment for both groups, only for controls was (greater) use of suppression associated with reduced social functioning. Implications for understanding blunted affect and social dysfunction in schizophrenia are discussed.
- blunted affect
- emotion regulation