Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology



First Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Relational Format



Recent models of social functioning have identified attention and emotion regulation as important factors in explaining social functioning. In these models, emotion regulation is conceptualized as a cognitive process under attention control (Beauchamp & Anderson, 2010; Crick & Dodge, 1994; Lemerise & Arsenio, 2000). Recently, an alternate conceptualization of emotion regulation has been suggested. In this model, emotion regulation is independent of attentional control and is conceptualized as consisting of four factors: emotion awareness and understanding; acceptance; impulse control and goal directed behavior in the context of negative emotions; and flexible use of contextually appropriate strategies to modulate emotion responses in goal-directed actions (Gratz & Roemer, 2004). Emerging evidence has linked attention and emotion regulation problems (Wehmeier, Schacht, & Barkley, 2010) and emotion regulation and social functioning (Wilkowski, Robinson, Gordon, & Troop-Gordon, 2007). However, it has been observed that not all individuals with clinically significant attention problems have clinically significant emotion regulation problems (Biederman, Petty, et al., 2012; Wehmeier et al., 2010). It therefore appears reasonable to consider the contribution of each of these processes to social functioning independently. In order to examine the relationship of emotion and attention regulation to each other and to social functioning, participants (n=103) 18 years of age or older enrolled at a public university were asked to complete online self-reports of attentional, emotional, and social functioning and a demographic questionnaire. Hierarchical regression was performed and results revealed significant, independent contribution of attention and emotion regulation to explaining variability in social functioning. Analyses based on WHOQOL100 measures suggested that attention regulation accounts for significant variability in social functioning after demographic factors have been explained, and that emotion regulation accounts for significant variability in social functioning after accounting for attention. A significant interaction between attention and emotion regulation was also found. Specifically, the interaction of Sum Inattention and Nonacceptance of Emotional Responses was significant for three of the four dependent variables and approached significance for the fourth. These findings highlight the importance of understanding the relationship between attention and emotional regulation in social functioning.


Emphasis: Clinical Psychology



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