In their book Distress Tolerance—Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, the editors, Michael J. Zvolensky, PhD, Amit Bernstein, PhD, and Anka A. Vujanovic, PhD, described the most important and relevant approaches to conceptualize distress tolerance in the clinical and research settings. In their efforts, the editors clearly delineate the differences between distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and related processes; in addition, they describe the potential for the use of these concepts as clinical measurement tools for investigational purposes. This text also offers the opportunity to examine how psychological reactions develop, as well as how to evaluate and clinically manage these negative expressions appropriately and effectively.
Attention and interest in distress tolerance offer a unique opportunity based on theoretical models to potentially assess models of risk and resilience and other clinically related implications. In this respect, this book offers a model that permits the understanding of “borderline personality disorders” based on the inability to tolerate emotional distress. This model has led to the recent development of psychosocially related interventions directed to the promotion of tolerance vis-à-vis internal and external demonstrations of distress, thus demonstrating the role of vulnerability for psychopathological manifestations when stress tolerance cannot be achieved in vulnerable individuals. Obviously, in this book, the editors’ main objective is to systematically identify aggregate and synthesize information focusing on distress tolerance and its relationship to psychological symptoms and disorders. In this regard, the book has certainly achieved its objectives.
The text is composed of three parts. Part I focuses on theory, assessment, and conceptualization of issues related to distress tolerance. This aim was certainly well achieved in this part of the book. Part II emphasizes the relationship between distress tolerance and various forms of psychopathology. The chapters included in this part offered a unique opportunity to examine the theoretical basis for the understanding of the relationship between distress tolerance and psychopathological phenomena, as well as its associations and its clinical implications vis-à-vis the prevention and treatment of the related psychopathology. Finally, part III focuses on the future utilization, implications, and novel opportunities to study distress tolerance.
In summary, this book offers an excellent opportunity to understand the historical perspectives and understanding of the role of distress tolerance and its relationship to key psychopathological emancipations such as anxiety disorders, traumatic stress, major depressive disorders, substance use disorders, borderline personality disorder, chronic muscular skeletal pain, and related health conditions, as well as eating disorders. Finally, it also offers some interesting clinical and research models for future exploration. I very much enjoyed reading this book and strongly recommend it to educators, clinicians, and investigators who are interested in the role of stress vis-à-vis human functioning and psychopathology.
Pedro Ruiz, MD
Professor and Executive Vice Chair
Department of Psychiatry
and Behavioral Sciences
University of Miami Miller School of
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.