Evaluating the Impact of a Brief, Emotion Regulation Intervention on Emotion Perception
The current study tested the effects of a brief, behavioral intervention for problems with emotion perception, the ability to perceive other people’s emotions, across a range of psychiatric disorders. The intervention was delivered through an in-person training session in which participants learned a mindful breathing skill, followed by a testing phase in which participants received phone-based reminders to practice the skill for one week. A sample of 80 adults with self-reported emotion regulation difficulties was recruited for this study and was randomized to either the Mindful Breathing condition, a Habituation condition, or a Control condition. Findings from this study suggested that, in the training session, participants in the Mindful Breathing condition had higher accuracy for perception of positive emotions and lower accuracy for perception of negative emotions than the control condition at the second and third timepoints. After the week of receiving phone reminders, participants in the mindful breathing condition had lower accuracy for perception of negative emotions than the control condition. Findings also suggest that the mindful breathing intervention reduces distress, which was associated with emotion perception performance. Therefore, this study’s findings provide preliminary evidence for a method of targeting emotion perception deficits that are associated with many psychiatric disorders. By combining both in-person and digital treatment components, this intervention also provides a feasible and effective complement to mainstream mental health services.
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