Date of Award

Fall 12-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Matt R. Judah

Committee Member

Konstantin Cigularov


Tolerance of negative emotions has been associated with transdiagnostic negative mental health outcomes. Theory and research implicate emotion regulation and cognitive control as factors in tolerance of negative emotions. But their unique contributions to tolerance of negative emotions and interdependency have been unclear due to methodological limitations. This study aimed to explicate cognitive and emotional factors affecting distress tolerance in a non-clinical sample of emerging adults. Undergraduate psychology students completed self-report measures of emotion regulation ability and tolerance of negative emotions. The N2 ERP component elicited by a Go-NoGo task was also used as a neurophysiological marker of cognitive control with larger mean difference amplitudes indicating greater cognitive control. Age correlated significantly with tolerance of negative emotions and cognitive control and was included as a covariate. Individuals with high emotion regulation ability were found to have greater tolerance of negative emotions. Larger mean N2 difference amplitudes predicted greater tolerance of negative emotions before age was added to the model, but was no longer significant when age was included as a covariate. No significant interactive effects were found between emotion regulatory ability and cognitive control predicting tolerance of negative emotions. These findings suggest that emotion regulation training may be the most appropriate target to increase tolerance of negative emotions. Future studies should increase power and assess emotional salience and temporal dynamics of self-regulation to further clarify the mechanism of these relationships.


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