The prognostic role of emotion regulation dynamics in the treatment of major depressive disorder

Avigail Bar-Sella, Aviv Nof, Brian R. Baucom, Pavel Goldstein, Sergei Romanov, Iryna Shpakouskaya, Dmitrii Kaplun, Sigal Zilcha-Mano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The potential prognostic role of emotion regulation in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) has been highlighted by transtheoretical literature and supported by promising empirical findings. The majority of the literature is based on self-report observations at a single snapshot, thus little is known about the prognostic value of moment-to-moment dynamic evolvement of emotion. The present study is the first to examine the prognostic value of both intra- and interpersonal, moment-to-moment emotion regulation dynamics, and the potential moderating effect of the type of treatment. METHOD: To assess the prognostic value of emotion regulation dynamics, we focused on the first session, using 6,780 talk-turns within 52 patient-therapist dyads. Emotion regulation dynamics were measured using fundamental frequencies of the voice and were calculated using empirical Bayes residuals of the actor-partner interdependence model. Symptomatic change was measured using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression across 16 weeks of supportive treatment (ST) or supportive-expressive treatment (SET). RESULTS: Findings suggest that patients who show less regulated intrapersonal dynamics during the first session show less reduction of symptoms throughout treatment (β = .26, p = .019). Findings further suggest that this association is mitigated when these patients receive SET, as opposed to ST (β = .72, p = .020). CONCLUSIONS: The findings demonstrate the ability of first-session emotion regulation dynamics to serve as a prognostic variable. The findings further suggest that the adverse effect of emotion regulation dynamics on the patient's prognosis can be mitigated by explicit work on changing maladaptive emotional patterns. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-749
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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