The Social Consequences of Expressive Suppression
At times, people keep their emotions from showing during social interactions. The authors' analysis suggests that such expressive suppression should disrupt communication and increase stress levels. To test this hypothesis, the authors conducted 2 studies in which unacquainted pairs of women discussed an upsetting topic. In Study 1, one member of each pair was randomly assigned to (a) suppress her emotional behavior, (b) respond naturally, or (c) cognitively reappraise in a way that reduced emotional responding. Suppression alone disrupted communication and magnified blood pressure responses in the suppressors' partners. In Study 2, suppression had a negative impact on the regulators' emotional experience and increased blood pressure in both regulators and their partners. Suppression also reduced rapport and inhibited relationship formation.