Improvements in mindfulness, interoceptive and emotional awareness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal emotion management following completion of an online emotional skills training program

Author: Ryan Smith1, Michelle R Persich1, Anne E Chuning2, Sara Cloonan1, Rebecca Woods-Lubert1, Jeff Skalamera3, Sarah M Berryhill1, Karen L Weihs1, Richard D Lane1, John J B Allen1, Natalie S Dailey1, Anna Alkozei1, John R Vanuk1, William D S Killgore1
1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona.
2 Laureate Institute for Brain Research.
3 Department of Psychology, University of Illinois Chicago.
Conference/Journal: Emotion
Date published: 2023 Aug 3
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1037/emo0001237. , Word Count: 217

Socioemotional skills, such as the ability to recognize, understand, and regulate the emotions of self and others, are associated with both physical and emotional health. The present study tested the effectiveness of a recently validated online training program for increasing these emotional skills in adults. In this study, 448 participants (323 female) were randomly assigned to complete this training program or a placebo control program. Among those who completed the training program or placebo (N = 326), the training program led to improved scores post-training on measures of interoceptive and emotional awareness, mindfulness, emotion recognition, and emotion regulation strategies (e.g., reduced emotion suppression and greater impulse control) relative to placebo. In a smaller group of participants who also completed a 6-month follow-up visit (N = 94), sustained improvements were observed on several measures in those who completed the training program, while the placebo group instead showed decreased performance. This suggested a potentially protective effect against emotional challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic occurring during this time. These results suggest that this online training program shows promise in improving emotional skills relevant to adaptive social and emotional functioning, and that it might be useful as an intervention within at-risk populations and those with emotional disorders associated with reduced application of these skills. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID: 37535567 DOI: 10.1037/emo0001237