Emotion regulation’s relationships with depression, anxiety and stress due to imagined smartphone and social media loss (2017)

Psychiatry Res. 2017 Dec 19;261:28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.12.045.

Elhai JD1, Hall BJ2, Erwin MC3.


A sample of 359 students participated in a web survey, administered the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) as a pre-test. We subsequently randomly assigned subjects to either 1) a smart phone loss group or 2) social media accounts loss group. We asked them to imagine losing two days’ access to the technology in their respective group, and rate associated symptoms using the DASS-21. Compared to subjects in the smartphone loss group, social media loss subjects evidenced stronger relations between suppressive emotion regulation with depression, anxiety and stress from imagined loss. Controlling for age and gender, social media loss subjects’ increased use of suppression, and decreased use of cognitive reappraisal in emotion regulation, were related to depression, stress and (for suppression only) anxiety due to imagined lost social media. Emotion regulation was not related to psychopathology for subjects in the smartphone loss scenario. Results suggest that emotion dysregulation may be associated with psychopathology from social media loss.

KEYWORDS: Emotion regulation; Internet addiction; Mobile phones; Psychopathology; Social networks

PMID: 29276991

DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.12.045