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Journal Article


Hoffman SN, Stein MB, Taylor CT. Behav. Ther. 2023; 54(2): 375-385.


(Copyright © 2023, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Publisher Elsevier Publishing)






Experiencing childhood trauma (CT) can create barriers for developing relationships and is a risk factor for anxiety and depression. Expressive suppression (ES; i.e., reducing expression associated with experiencing emotions) might explain the link between CT and relationship formation difficulties. We examined the association between (1) CT and ES during a dyadic paradigm intended to facilitate connectedness between unacquainted partners and (2) ES and desire for future interaction (DFI). Individuals with an anxiety or depressive disorder diagnosis (N = 77) interacted with a trained confederate; partners answered a series of increasingly intimate questions about themselves. Participant ES for positive and negative emotions, and participant and confederate DFI were collected during the task. Participants completed global anxiety, depression, and CT measures. CT correlated with positive (r = .35, p = .002), but not negative, ES (r = .13, p = .273). In a multiple linear regression model, CT predicted positive ES beyond symptom variables and gender, β = .318, t = 2.59, p = .012. Positive ES correlated with participant (r = -.38, p = .001) and confederate DFI (r = -.40, p<.01); and predicted participant DFI beyond symptom variables and ethnicity, β = -.358, t = -3.18, p = .002, and confederate DFI, β = -.390, t = -3.51, p = .001, beyond symptom variables. Mediation analyses suggested positive ES accounted for the relationship between greater CT severity and less desire for future interaction from participants, 95%CI [-0.26, -0.02], and confederates, [-0.38, -0.01]. Positive ES may be an important factor in the reduced capacity to form new social relationships for individuals with a history of CT, anxiety, and depression.

Language: en


Adult; Humans; Depression; Anxiety; social connection; depression; anxiety; *Adverse Childhood Experiences; *Social Interaction; Anxiety Disorders; childhood trauma; expressive suppression


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