Background: Little is known about whether and how contextual appraisals relate to emotion regulation (ER) strategy use across the ultra-high risk and first episode stages of psychosis. The present study extends previous research by investigating the extent to which different appraisal dimensions of the most negative and positive events of the day are associated with ER strategy use in individuals with ultra-high risk (UHR) and first-episode psychosis (FEP). Method: Sixty-eight UHR individuals and fifty-five FEP individuals filled out an experience sampling evening questionnaire for six consecutive days, in which their appraisal of intensity, importance and perceived control concerning the most negative or positive event of the day, and the ER strategies they deploy in response to these events were measured. Results: Multilevel mixed effect models showed that intensity appraisal was most closely associated with ER strategy use, as opposed to importance and controllability appraisals. Higher intense negative events were associated with more rumination and social sharing, while less intense negative events were associated with more reappraisal. Higher intense positive events were associated with a greater number of deployed strategies and more efforts in using savoring, expression and social sharing. The UHR and FEP individuals did not significantly differ regarding effects of above-mentioned appraisal dimensions on ER. Conclusions: These results provide evidence supporting ER flexibility in early psychosis, and event intensity emerged as the dimension most strongly associated with ER. Future research should better account for other situational factors (such as social context) that might affect ER use in psychosis.
- Contextual appraisal
- Early psychosis
- Emotion regulation
- Event intensity
- Experience sampling methodology