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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 390865, 11 pages
Research Article

Dissociable Self Effects for Emotion Regulation: A Study of Chinese Major Depressive Outpatients

1Department of General Psychology, College of Psychology, Third Military Medical University, Street 30, Gaotanyan of Shapingba District, Chongqing 400038, China
2Radiology Department, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400037, China
3School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
4Xin Qiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China

Received 9 September 2013; Revised 19 February 2014; Accepted 6 March 2014; Published 3 April 2014

Academic Editor: Yong He

Copyright © 2014 Xiaoxia Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Reappraisal is an adaptive emotion regulation strategy while the role of self-perspective in reappraisal process of depressed patients is largely unknown in terms of goals (valence/arousal) and tactics (detachment/immersion). In this study, 12 depressed individuals and 15 controls were scanned with MRI during which they either attend naturally to emotional stimuli, or adopt detachment/immersion strategy. Behaviorally, no group differences in self-reported emotion regulation effectiveness were found. In addition, we observed that (1) patients were less able to downregulate amygdala activation with recruitment of more dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) when adopting detachment strategy regardless of valence, and this preserved ability to regulate emotion was inversely associated with severity of symptoms; (2) patients had deficits in upregulating amygdala activation when adopting immersion strategy, with less inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) activation and strengthening coupling of dlPFC and ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) with amygdala; (3) comparison between groups yielded that patients showed stronger vmPFC activation under either self-detached or self-immersed condition. In conclusion, impaired modulatory effects of amygdala in depressed patients are compensated with strengthening cognitive control resources, with dissociable effects for different self-perspectives in reappraisal. These results may help clarify the role of self-perspective underlying reappraisal in major depression.