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Social Anxiety and Emotion Regulation in Daily Life: Spillover Effects on Positive and Negative Social Events
Abstract and Figures
To minimize the possibility of scrutiny, people with social anxiety difficulties exert great effort to manage their emotions, particularly during social interactions. We examined how the use of two emotion regulation strategies, emotion suppression and cognitive reappraisal, predict the generation of emotions and social events in daily life. Over 14 consecutive days, 89 participants completed daily diary entries on emotions, positive and negative social events, and their regulation of emotions. Using multilevel modeling, we found that when people high in social anxiety relied more on positive emotion suppression, they reported fewer positive social events and less positive emotion on the subsequent day. In contrast, people low in social anxiety reported fewer negative social events on days subsequent to using cognitive reappraisal to reduce distress; the use of cognitive reappraisal did not influence the daily lives of people high in social anxiety. Our findings support theories of emotion regulation difficulties associated with social anxiety. In particular, for people high in social anxiety, maladaptive strategy use contributed to diminished reward responsiveness.
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