Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS)


The Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) is a 36-item self-report measure that assesses individuals’ typical levels of difficulties in emotion regulation. The conceptual definition of emotion regulation on which the DERS is based emphasizes the functionality of emotions and focuses on adaptive ways of responding to emotional distress, including the: (a) awareness, understanding, and acceptance of emotions; (b) ability to control behaviors when experiencing negative emotions; (c) flexible use of situationally-appropriate strategies to modulate the intensity and/or duration of emotional responses, rather than to eliminate emotions entirely; and (d) willingness to experience negative emotions as part of pursuing meaningful activities in life.

Special Instructions

Once the patient has submitted it, you may preview it on the uninitialed documents tab in the EMR. However, do not initial it or it won't later be pulled into your Mobile Note.

Scores Produced

SUBSCALE SCORING**: The measure yields a total score (SUM) as well as scores on six sub-scales: 

1. Nonacceptance of emotional responses (NONACCEPT): 11, 12, 21, 23, 25, 29 

2. Difficulty engaging in Goal-directed behavior (GOALS): 13, 18, 20R, 26, 33 

3. Impulse control difficulties (IMPULSE): 3, 14, 19, 24R, 27, 32 

4. Lack of emotional awareness (AWARENESS): 2R, 6R, 8R, 10R, 17R, 34R 

5. Limited access to emotion regulation strategies (STRATEGIES): 15, 16, 22R, 28, 30, 31, 35, 36 

6. Lack of emotional clarity (CLARITY): 1R, 4, 5, 7R, 9

Total score: sum of all subscales 

**”R” indicates reverse scored item


Higher scores suggest greater problems with emotion regulation. 


Gratz, K. L. & Roemer, L. (2004). Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: Development, factor structure, and initial validation of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26, 41-54.



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