Salvatore J. Catanzaro
Illinois State University

Jack Mearns
California State University, Fullerton

photo Catanzaro & Mearns

Research Overview:

This research focuses on people's generalized expectancies for negative mood regulation (NMR). NMR expectancies represent beliefs individuals have that, when they are in a bad mood, they can do something to make themselves feel better. We have developed the Negative Mood Regulation (NMR) Scale to measure these expectancies.

Our research suggests that people with strong beliefs in their ability to alleviate negative moods cope more adaptively with stress. They also experience less negative affect (anger, anxiety, depression, guilt) and fewer health problems.

Our research has been done on a variety of populations, including college students, caregivers for individuals with Alzheimer's disease, teachers and police officers.

This research is based in Julian B. Rotter's (1954) social learning theory. Click to learn more about J. B. Rotter and his theory. NMR expectancies can be considered response expectancies, which are beliefs about the occurrence of non-volitional behaviors. These expectancies tend to be self-confirming: believing you will have a response makes that response more likely. The placebo effect is another example of a response expectancy.

Substantial research evidence suggests that NMR expectancies are important predictors of affect, cognition and behavior. People with strong NMR expectancies become less distressed when experiencing aversive circumstances; they react to aversive events by thinking more positive thoughts; and they are better able to use strategies to repair their mood. The NMR Scale is a useful measure for assessing progress in psychotherapy. People with stronger NMR expectancies benefit more from psychotherapy than do people with weak expectancies. Thus, changing NMR expectancies is an important goal of psychotherapy, as people are more likely to use mood enhancing techniques of psychotherapy if they have confidence those techniques will be successful.

Foreign Language Versions of the NMR Scale:

Translations of the NMR Scale into German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean have been published. We have unpublished official translations in Indonesian and Turkish. Further translation work continues, including Arabic, Greek, Hindi and Portuguese.

In addition, the NMR-Y is a children's NMR Scale. English and Japanese NMR-Y's exist.

Our NMR Publications:

Below are listed articles published by us and our colleagues. Click on the citation to view a summary of the article.

  1. Catanzaro & Mearns (1990). Measuring Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation: Initial Scale Development and Implications.
  2. Kirsch, Mearns, & Catanzaro (1990). Mood-Regulation Expectancies as Determinants of Dysphoria in College Students.
  3. Mearns (1991). Coping with a Breakup: Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies and Depresssion Following the End of a Romantic Relationship.
  4. Catanzaro (1993). Mood Regulation Expectancies, Anxiety Sensitivity, and Emotional Distress.
  5. Brashares & Catanzaro (1994). Mood Regulation Expectancies, Coping Responses, Depression, and Sense of Burden in Female Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients.
  6. Catanzaro (1994). Discrimination of Mood Regulation Expectancies From Dysphoria: Confirmatory Factor Analytic Findings.
  7. Catanzaro & Greenwood (1994). Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation, Coping, and Dysphoria Among College Students.
  8. Catanzaro, Horaney, & Creasey (1995). Hassles, Coping, and Depressive Symptoms in an Elderly Community Sample: The Role of Mood Regulation Expectancies.
  9. Catanzaro (1996). Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies, Emotional Distress and Examination Performance.
  10. Catanzaro (1997). Mood Regulation Expectancies, Affect Intensity, Dispositional Coping, and Depressive Symptoms: A Conceptual Analysis and Empirical Reanalysis.
  11. Mearns & Mauch (1998). Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies Predict Anger among Police Officers and Buffer the Effects of Job Stress.
  12. Catanzaro & Mearns (1999). Mood-related Expectancy, Emotional Experience, and Coping Behavior.
  13. Catanzaro (2000). Mood Regulation and Suicidal Behavior.
  14. Catanzaro, Wasch, Kirsch, & Mearns (2000). Coping-related Expectancies and Dispositions as Prospective Predictors of Coping Responses and Symptoms.
  15. Mearns & Cain (2003). Relationships between Teachers' Occupational Stress and Their Burnout and Distress: Roles of Coping and Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies.
  16. Catanzaro & Laurent (2004). Perceived Family Support, Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies, Coping, and Adolescent Alcohol Use: Evidence of Mediation and Moderation Effects.
  17. Backenstrass, Pfeiffer, Schwarz, Catanzaro, & Mearns (2008). Reliabilitaet und Validitaet der Deutschsprachigen Version der Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation (NMR) Scale [Reliability and Validity of the German Version of the Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation (NMR) Scale]
  18. Mearns, Patchett, & Catanzaro (2009). Multitrait-multimethod Matrix Validation of the Negative Mood Regulation Scale.
  19. Backenstrass, Joest, Gehrig, Pfeiffer, Mearns, & Catanzaro (2010). The German Version of the Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation Scale: A Construct Validity Study.
  20. Pfeiffer, Kaemmerer, Mearns, Catanzaro, & Backenstrass (2011). Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation and Major Depressive Disorder: The Role of Previous Depressive Episodes and Comorbid Mental Disorders.
  21. Pfeiffer, Martinez, Mearns, Catanzaro, Rojas, Backenstrass, & Kaemmerer (2012). Preliminary Reliability and Validity of the Spanish Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation Scale.
  22. Tresno, Ito, & Mearns (2012). Self-injurious Behavior and Suicide Attempts among College Students in Indonesia.
  23. Kono & Mearns (2013). Distress of Japanese Parents of Children with Intellectual Disabilities: Correlations with Age of Parent and Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies.
  24. Mearns, Park, & Catanzaro (2013). Developing a Korean Language Measure of Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation.
  25. Tresno, Ito, & Mearns (2013). Risk Factors for Non-suicidal Self-injury in Japanese College Students: The Moderating Role of Mood Regulation Expectancies.
  26. Catanzaro, Backenstrass, Miller, Mearns, Pfeiffer, & Brendalen (2014). Prediction of Symptoms of Emotional Distress by Mood Regulation Expectancies and Affective Traits.
  27. Wang, Yang, & Mearns (2014). The Chinese Version of the Negative Mood Regulation Scale: An Examination of Reliability and Validity.
  28. Shepherd-McMullen, Mearns, Stokes, & Mechanic (2015). Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies Moderate the Relationship between Psychological Abuse and Avoidant Coping.
  29. Catanzaro & Mearns (2016). Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation: Development, Assessment, and Implications of a Construct.
  30. Mearns, Self, Kono, Sato, Takashima, Tresno, Watabe, & Catanzaro (2016). Measuring Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation in Japan: The Japanese Language NMR Scale.
  31. Tresno & Mearns (2016). Expectancies for Social Support and Negative Mood Regulation Mediate the Relationship between Childhood Maltreatment and Self-Injury.
  32. Aoki, Mearns, & Robinson Kurpius (2017). Social Anxiety and Assertiveness: The Role of Self-beliefs in Asian Americans and European Americans.
  33. Hamamura, Suganuma, Ueda, Mearns, & Shimoyama (2018). Standalone effects of a cognitive behavioral intervention using a mobile phone app on psychological distress and alcohol consumption among Japanese workers: Pilot non-randomized controlled trial.
  34. Eum, Ji, & Mearns, J. (2019). The effects of acculturative stress, intergenerational conflict, and negative mood regulation expectancies of the mental health of Korean immigrants.
  35. Hamamura & Mearns (2019). Depression and Somatic Symptoms in Japanese and American College Students: Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies as a Personality Correlate.
  36. Laurent, Roome, Catanzaro, Mearns, & Harbke (2019). Generalized expectancies for negative mood regulation among youth in grades 4 - 8
  37. Wang, Mearns, Yang, Han, & Catanzaro (2019). Measuring Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation in China: Validation of the Chinese Language NMR Scale.
  38. Hamamura & Mearns (2020). Mood induction changes negative alcohol expectancies among Japanese adults with problematic drinking: Negative mood regulation expectancies moderate the effect.
  39. Kaur & Mearns (2021). Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies Moderate the Effect of Childhood Maltreatment on Compulsive Buying.

Others' NMR Research:

See citations
for the work of other researchers using the NMR Scale.

Obtaining the NMR Scale:

Items and instructions for the NMR Scale are printed in Catanzaro & Mearns (1990). If you wish more information, please send a description of your research to Dr. Catanzaro or Dr. Mearns.

Translating the NMR Scale:

We are open to working collaboratively with researchers in other countries who are interested in translating the NMR Scale into other languages. Please contact us if you wish to propose a translation of the scale.

Send e-mail to:

Dr. Catanzaro

Send e-mail to:

Dr. Mearns

Go to Jack Mearns's Homepage

Go to Salvatore J. Catanzaro's Homepage

Return to Top of Page

Text copyright © Jack Mearns, 2000-2021. All rights reserved.

rev. 9/1/21