Emotional rigidity negatively impacts remission from anxiety and recovery of well-being

Anika Wiltgen, Christopher Shepard, Ryan Smith, J. Christopher Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Emotional rigidity is described in clinical literature as a significant barrier to recovery; however, few there are few empirical measures of the construct. The current study had two aims: Study 1 aimed to identify latent factors that may bear on the construct of emotional rigidity while Study 2 assessed the potential impact of the latent factor(s) on anxiety remission rates and well-being. Method: This study utilized data from 2472 adult inpatients (1176 females and 1296 males) with severe psychopathology. Study 1 utilized exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to identify latent factors of emotional rigidity. Study 2 utilized hierarchical logistic regression analyses to assess the relationships among emotional rigidity factors and anxiety remission and well-being recovery at discharge. Results: Study 1 yielded a two-factor solution identified in EFA was confirmed with CFA. Factor 1 consisted of neuroticism, experiential avoidance, non-acceptance of emotions, impaired goal-directed behavior, impulse control difficulties and limited access to emotion regulation strategies when experiencing negative emotions. Factor 2 consisted of lack of emotional awareness and lack of emotional clarity when experiencing negative emotions. Results of Study 2 indicated higher scores on Factor 1 was associated with lower remission rates from anxiety and poorer well-being upon discharge. Factor 2 was not predictive of outcome. Conclusions: Emotional rigidity appears to be a latent construct that negatively impacts remission rates from anxiety. Limitations of the present study include its retrospective design, and inefficient methods of assessing emotional rigidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Aug 15 2018


  • Anxiety
  • Emotional rigidity
  • Treatment outcomes
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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