Which Brief Is Best? Clarifying the Use of Three Brief Versions of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale

Julie M. Skutch, Shirley B. Wang, Tom Buqo, Ann F. Haynos, Anthony Papa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Emotion regulation is a fundamental affective process implicated in a range of clinically relevant phenomena such as mood, anxiety, and personality disorders, as well as self-harm and suicidality. Many self-report scales have been developed to measure this important construct, and the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (DERS) is one of the most widely used. The DERS has extensive empirical support for its use, however, its long length impacts its utility and a briefer version is needed. Recently three brief versions of the DERS (DERS-16, DERS-SF, and DERS-18) were developed independently. Initial analyses of each of these measures found them to retain the excellent psychometric properties of the original DERS measure. However, it remains unclear which version is most ideally suited to briefly measure emotion regulation in clinical and research contexts. To clarify this point, the current study examined the existing brief DERS measures on internal reliability and concurrent validity indices in a large sample of undergraduate students (n = 1181). The reliability and validity of all three brief forms were found to be comparable. Additionally, if replicated, our results suggest that it may be useful for future research and clinical work to use brief versions that retain subscale scores (DERS-SF and DERS-18). Based on the results and the existing literature, we recommend that the emotion regulation field come to a consensus about which brief version to use for consistency and the ability to compare findings across studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-494
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Brief assessment
  • Emotion regulation
  • Measurement
  • Self-report


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