Strategy bias in the emotion regulation of high trait anxiety individuals: An investigation of underlying neural signatures using ERPs.

Objective: Previous studies have employed self-report measures to investigate emotion regulation (ER) strategy biases in individuals with anxiety. We investigated the neural signatures underlying ER strategy biases. Method: Twenty individuals with high trait anxiety (HTA) and twenty individuals with low trait anxiety (LTA) completed both the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire and ER tasks. During the tasks, participants were required to passively view, reappraise, and suppress expression while viewing negative images. Event-related potential (ERP) indexes: P2 (an early positive component of the latency around 200ms) and late positive potential (LPP) were adopted to examine the reliability of ER strategy bias in early and later stages during ER procedure. Results: Results of the questionnaire indicated that trait anxiety level was positively correlated with habitual suppression use. ERP results revealed that, in LTA individuals, P2 amplitudes were reduced during both reappraisal and suppression strategy use. HTA individuals, however, showed no significant differences in P2 amplitudes between passive-view and regulation conditions. Furthermore, during the reappraisal block, a reduction of LPP was only observed in the LTA group, while HTA individuals showed a relatively more pronounced reduction in LPP during the application of the suppression strategy. Conclusion: Individuals in the HTA group do not demonstrate the application of effectively strategies during the initial stages of ER process, perhaps due to the presence of an automatic negative bias. While during the later stages of ER, HTA individuals demonstrated successful use of suppression but were deficient in voluntarily applying reappraisal techniques. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)