Effectiveness of Emotion Regulation Group Therapy on Craving, Emotion Problems, and Marital Satisfaction in Patients with Substance Use Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Psychological and environmental factors, such as difficulties in emotion regulation (ER) and marital problems, are involved in relapse and craving in patients with substance use disorders. Emotional regulation therapy can help maintain opioid withdrawal and improve marital relations by focusing on appropriate adjustment of emotions. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of emotion regulation therapy on craving, emotion regulation, and marital satisfaction in patients with substance use disorders.


This randomized controlled clinical trial with pretest and posttest was performed in 2014 in Noor hospital, Isfahan, Iran. In this study, 30 patients who were admitted to the addiction center of Noor hospital were selected using purposive sampling. They were assigned into 2 groups randomly: (1) 15 patients in treatment as usual (TAU group); (2) 15 patients in emotion regulation group therapy (ERGT). The ERGT group received 8 weekly treatments, based on Gross model, to learn recognize emotions and their effects, overcome obstacles of positive emotions, accept emotions, identify regulatory maladaptive and adaptive strategies of emotions, and modify behavior. Before and after the emotion regulation sessions in experimental group, Craving Beliefs Questionnaire (CBQ), Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, and Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) were administered in both groups.


The results of analysis of variance indicated that mean scores of marital adjustment increased in ERGT (93.66 ± 15.81) compared to TAU group (55.26 ± 20.98) and the mean scores of craving were decreased in ERGT compared to TAU group (56.66 ± 18.39 and 105.2 ± 34.5, respectively). Also, most aspects of ER improved in ERGT compared to TAU group, and the total score of ER was increased in ERGT significantly (96.69 ± 5.38 in ERGT versus 73.70 ± 5.05 in TAU).


Based on the findings of this study, emotion regulation group therapy has a significant effect on reducing Craving and improving marital adjustment and emotion regulation in Patients with Substance Use Disorders. So, it can use as a useful psychotherapy in addiction treatment centers.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, Volume:14 Issue:4, 2019
283 - 290
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