Emotional reasoning refers to the use of subjective emotions, rather than objective evidence, to form conclusions about oneself and the world. Emotional reasoning appears to characterise anxiety disorders. We aimed to determine whether elevated levels of emotional reasoning also characterise dysphoria. In Study 1, low dysphoric (BDI-II≤4; n = 28) and high dysphoric (BDI-II ≥14; n = 42) university students were administered an emotional reasoning task relevant for dysphoria. In Study 2, a larger university sample were administered the same task, with additional self-referent ratings, and were followed up 8 weeks later. In Study 1, both the low and high dysphoric participants demonstrated emotional reasoning and there were no significant differences in scores on the emotional reasoning task between the low and high dysphoric groups. In Study 2, self-referent emotional reasoning interpretations showed small-sized positive correlations with depression symptoms. Emotional reasoning tendencies were stable across an 8-week interval although not predictive of subsequent depressive symptoms. Further, anxiety symptoms were independently associated with emotional reasoning and emotional reasoning was not associated with anxiety sensitivity, alexithymia, or deductive reasoning tendencies. The implications of these findings are discussed, including the possibility that while all individuals may engage in emotional reasoning, self-referent emotional reasoning may be associated with increased levels of depressive symptoms.
Berle, D., & Moulds, M. L. (2013). Emotional Reasoning Processes and Dysphoric Mood: Cross-Sectional and Prospective Relationships. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0067359