Exploring cultural differences in the use of emotion regulation strategies in posttraumatic stress disorder

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Amanda Nagulendran & Laura Jobson

https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2020.1729033

Background: Emotion regulation difficulties are central to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While cultural differences exist in the ways in which individuals regulate their emotions, researchers have not examined cultural differences in emotion regulation in PTSD.

Objective: This study explored emotion regulation in individuals from European and East Asian cultures with and without PTSD.

Method: Emotion regulation measures were administered to Caucasian Australian (n = 31) and East Asian Australian (n = 38) trauma survivors with and without PTSD.

Results: Caucasian Australians with PTSD scored significantly higher on measures of worry, expressive suppression, thought suppression, rumination, experiential avoidance, and general emotion dysregulation compared to Caucasian Australians without PTSD. Similarly, East Asian Australians with PTSD scored significantly higher on measures of rumination and experiential avoidance than East Asian Australians without PTSD. However, worry, expressive suppression, thought suppression and general emotion dysregulation did not differentiate between East Asian Australians with and without PTSD.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that there may be cultural differences in emotion regulation difficulties in PTSD and highlight the need for further research in this area.

Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder; culture; emotion regulation

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