Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2022

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) have difficulties regulating emotion on their own. As people also turn to others for help with emotion regulation (i.e., interpersonal emotion regulation [IER]), we examined whether these difficulties extend to IER in current and remitted MDD. We generally expected individuals with current MDD (and remitted MDD to a lesser extent) to utilize IER in distinct ways compared to those with no history of psychiatric disorders (i.e., controls) due to differences in emotional, cognitive, and interpersonal functioning. Using experience sampling, adults with current MDD (n=48), remitted MDD (n=80), and controls (n=87) reported on how frequently (i.e., IER frequency), from whom (i.e., sharing partners), and why (i.e., IER goals) they sought IER, how the sharing partners responded (i.e., IER strategies, warmth), and how their feelings about the problem and the sharing partner changed following IER (i.e., IER outcomes). Using multilevel modeling, we found that the current-MDD group did not differ from controls in IER frequency and sharing partners, but they demonstrated a more mixed (albeit generally supportive) profile of received IER strategies and benefited similarly or more from supportive IER compared to the other two groups. These findings provided preliminary evidence that IER can serve as a promising avenue for effective emotion regulation in current MDD. The remitted-MDD group sought IER most frequently and demonstrated the most adaptive profile of received IER strategies among the three groups, and they, along with the current-MDD group, reported seeking more types of IER goals than controls. These findings suggested that those with remitted MDD are highly motivated to pursue IER support and their pursuit often takes place in particularly supportive social contexts. As the first efforts to elucidate everyday IER in MDD, the present investigation shed light on the need for IER support as well as the distinct motivating factors and social contexts that may influence IER processes. Future research is needed to examine mechanisms driving these group differences and how IER processes predict the course of MDD.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Renee J Thompson

Committee Members

Tammy English


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