Emotion regulation, affect, psychosocial functioning, and well-being in hemodialysis patients

Sarah Gillanders, Matthew Wild, Christopher Deighan, David Gillanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Emotion regulation refers to the psychological strategies people use to cope with such stressors as hemodialysis therapy. These strategies are associated with a range of physical and psychological variation that may be related to kidney disease and its management. This study explores the associations of 2 emotion regulation strategies, reappraisal and suppression, and considers their impact on patient well-being and kidney disease management.

Study Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting and Participants: 106 hemodialysis patients undergoing renal replacement therapy and 94 friends or relatives.

Predictors: Reappraisal and suppression, measured by using the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire.

Outcomes: Outcome parameters were measures of affect, psychosocial functioning, and well-being, measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Scale, the Brief COPE questionnaire, the Kidney Disease Quality-of-Life Short Form, and the Brief Symptom Inventory.

Results: The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire measured reappraisal and suppression. Greater use of reappraisal was associated with lower levels of anxiety (r = -0.22; P = 0.03) and greater acceptance of the disease (r = 0.20; P = 0.04). It was also associated with more experience (r = 0.26; P < 0.01) and expression (r = 0.23; P = 0.02) of positive emotion and less experience (r = -0.35; P < 0.01) and expression (r = -0.29; P < 0.01) of negative emotion. Suppression was associated with less positive emotional expression (r = -0.28; P < 0.01), greater levels of depression (r = 0.22; P = 0.03) and somatization (r = 0.25; P < 0.01), and greater dissatisfaction with the time spent dealing with their kidney disease (r =-0.21; P = 0.04). Suppression also was associated with less emotional coping (r = -0.29; P < 0.01) and greater dissatisfaction with the support received from other people (r = -0.34; P < 0.01).

Limitations: The study focuses on emotion regulation strategies and well-being rather than clinical parameters; therefore, extensive medical data were not recorded.

Conclusion: Reappraisal has more positive clinical and psychosocial associations than suppression. The emotion regulation strategy used by hemodialysis patients has important implications for well-being and disease management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-662
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

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