Date of Degree

9-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Peggilee Wupperman

Committee Members

Michele Galietta

Keith Markus

Robert Leahy

Edward Selby

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology

Keywords

emotional schemas, psychoemotional functioning, emotion processing, emotion regulation, behavior regulation

Abstract

Recent advancements in emotion theory propose that emotional schemas – individualized conceptualizations and beliefs about emotions – serve a fundamental function in guiding psychoemotional processes. These advancements have progressed alongside the development of third-wave therapies, which presume emotional schemas to be deeply involved in perpetuating psychological distress and emotional dysfunction. To critically assess the validity of this presumption, the current research proposed and evaluated an integrative model of psychoemotional functioning.

Two studies were completed using a combination of behavioral, performance-based, and self-report measures of emotional schemas and psychoemotional functioning. Though further research is needed, results suggest the integrated model of psychoemotional functioning may have viability as a clinically relevant tool to organize and guide research in this area. The model suggests complex interrelations between maladaptive emotional schemas, emotion-processing deficits, avoidant coping, emotion-regulation ineffectiveness, and behavioral dysregulation, with emotional schemas playing a key role in guiding psychoemotional experience and functioning. Given the centrality of emotional schemas and psychoemotional functioning in third-wave therapies, the proposed model may inform future research on mechanisms of change in these treatments. The model may also be used to inform the development of novel intervention strategies to improve psychoemotional functioning.

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