Emotion Regulation Patterns among Colorectal Cancer Survivors: Clustering and Associations with Personal Coping Resources

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Different patterns of emotion regulation have been proposed for dealing with the intense emotions elicited while coping with cancer. The relationships between these different emotion regulation patterns have not yet been studied. This study examined the usage levels of different emotion regulation patterns (repression, suppression, experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal), the intercorrelations and clustering of these patterns and their associations with personal coping resources (personal resilience and self-compassion) in a sample of colorectal cancer survivors. This was a cross-sectional study in which 153 colorectal cancer survivors, stages II–III, (47% female, 53% male), aged 26–87, completed the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-6, the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, the Resilience Scale-14 and the Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form. The four emotion regulation patterns were found to be distinct from each other (i.e., low to moderate correlations). Cognitive reappraisal was negatively related to suppression and experiential avoidance and positively associated with self-compassion. Two-step cluster analysis revealed three distinct clusters: Cluster 1—the suppression-avoidance dominant cluster; Cluster 2—the cognitive reappraisal dominant cluster; and Cluster 3—the repression dominant cluster. Repression, suppression, experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal were found to differ from each other but able to be organized into distinct clusters of survivors. Healthcare professionals should be aware of these different emotion regulation patterns and the need to identify the patterns used by each survivor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-224
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We sincerely thank Dr Alexander Beny, director of the colorectal cancer oncology unit at the Rambam Health Care Campus at the time of the study, for his generous assistance in implementing the study. We also wish to express our sincere gratitude to all the participants in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • clustering
  • colorectal cancer survivors
  • emotion regulation
  • resilience
  • self-compassion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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