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The effect of suppressing and not accepting emotions on depressive symptoms: Is suppression different for men and women?

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  • Utah Center for Evidence Based Treatment, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Suppression of emotional expression has been associated with depressive symptoms. However, men suppress emotions more than women but women experience more symptoms of depression. The present study examined gender and emotional non-acceptance (thinking of emotions as bad and to be avoided) as moderators of the suppression-depression relationship. Participants were males (n=118) and females (n=210) aged 17–24. As expected, men reported suppressing emotions more than women and women reported more depressive symptoms. However, suppression was only related to depression in men and not women. Hierarchical regressions revealed a 3-way interaction among gender, suppression, and non-acceptance. Lower acceptance of emotions was associated with the highest depressive symptoms regardless of suppression or gender. With greater acceptance of emotions, suppression was related to more depressive symptoms in men but fewer depressive symptoms in women. These findings suggest that suppressing emotions may have different functions and may be more useful for understanding depressive symptoms in men rather than women.
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The effect of suppressing and not accepting emotions on depressive symptoms:
Is suppression different for men and women?
Jessica J. Flynn
a
, Tom Hollenstein
b,*
, Allison Mackey
c
a
Kent State University, OH, USA
b
Queen’s University, Department of Psychology, 220 Craine Hall, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6
c
Rotman Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
article info
Article history:
Received 13 November 2009
Received in revised form 13 May 2010
Accepted 18 May 2010
Available online 11 June 2010
Keywords:
Suppression
Gender differences
Non-acceptance
Emotion regulation
Depressive symptoms
abstract
Suppression of emotional expression has been associated with depressive symptoms. However, men sup-
press emotions more than women but women experience more symptoms of depression. The present
study examined gender and emotional non-acceptance (thinking of emotions as bad and to be avoided)
as moderators of the suppression-depression relationship. Participants were males (n= 118) and females
(n= 210) aged 17–24. As expected, men reported suppressing emotions more than women and women
reported more depressive symptoms. However, suppression was only related to depression in men and
not women. Hierarchical regressions revealed a 3-way interaction among gender, suppression, and
non-acceptance. Lower acceptance of emotions was associated with the highest depressive symptoms
regardless of suppression or gender. With greater acceptance of emotions, suppression was related to
more depressive symptoms in men but fewer depressive symptoms in women. These findings suggest
that suppressing emotions may have different functions and may be more useful for understanding
depressive symptoms in men rather than women.
Ó2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Based on his model of emotional regulation (Gross, 1998, 2007),
James Gross and colleagues have examined the functions and asso-
ciations of two strategies: expressive suppression, or inhibiting out-
ward expression when emotionally aroused (e.g., not crying when
sad), and cognitive reappraisal, or reframing an emotional situation
as less emotional (e.g., thinking of a performance as a learning
opportunity rather than a potential failure; Gross, 2008a, 2008b;
Gross & John, 2003). On the one hand, reappraisal is associated
with positive outcomes such as low levels of negative emotions
and high levels of well-being (Gross & John, 2003; John & Gross,
2004). On the other hand, suppression is related to negative out-
comes such as depression (Gross & John, 2003; John & Gross,
2004), negative social consequences (Butler et al., 2003; Gross &
John, 2003) and greater experience of negative emotions (Butler,
Lee, & Gross, 2007). Although Gross and colleagues are careful
not to conclude that one strategy is necessarily better than the
other, reappraisal is generally thought of as an adaptive emotion
regulation strategy and suppression as a maladaptive emotion reg-
ulation strategy.
1.1. Gender differences in the suppression–depression link
Research in western societies has revealed many gender differ-
ences in how men and women experience and express emotions.
For example, women express more emotion than men (Gross &
John, 1995, 1997; Kring & Gordon, 1998), women ruminate more
than men (Butler & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1994), men tend to display
more anger-related emotions and women tend to display more
dysphoric and self-conscious emotions than men (Brody, 1993).
Thus, women experience greater levels of negative emotionality
in the form of depressive symptoms (Kessler et al., 1994; Nolen-
Hoeksema, 2001; Regier et al., 1993; Young, Fogg, Scheftner, Keller,
& Fawcett, 1990), yet men suppress emotions more than women
(Gross & John, 2002, 2003). This reveals a previously unexamined
conundrum: if men suppress emotions more than women and sup-
pression is related to depression then why is it that men do not
experience higher levels of negative affect or depressive symptoms
than women? This conundrum suggests that when men suppress
emotions it may not have effects that are as deleterious as those
for women; hence, gender may moderate the relationship between
suppression and depression. The present study was designed to ad-
dress this conundrum by considering the moderating effects of
gender and then to try to explain these differences in terms of
how men and women approach or process emotional experiences.
Specifically, we considered whether accepting versus rejecting
0191-8869/$ - see front matter Ó2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.05.022
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 613 533 3288; fax: +1 613 533 2499.
E-mail address: Tom.Hollenstein@queensu.ca (T. Hollenstein).
Personality and Individual Differences 49 (2010) 582–586
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
emotions was a key factor in the suppression–depression
connection.
1.2. Non-acceptance
Emotional acceptance is the willingness to fully experience all
emotions, even negative ones (Campbell-Sills, Barlow, Brown, &
Hoffman, 2006; Eifert & Heffner, 2003; Hayes et al., 1999; Levitt,
Brown, Orsillo, & Barlow, 2004). Non-acceptance manifests as not
wanting to feel any emotion appraised as ‘‘bad’’ (Gratz & Roemer,
2004) and is positively associated with suppression as well as
symptoms of depression (Campbell-Sills et al., 2006; Gratz & Roe-
mer, 2004; Hayes et al., 1999). Thus, non-acceptance may also af-
fect how suppression relates to depression. In fact, some
researchers seem to equate suppression and non-acceptance
(Campbell-Sills et al., 2006; Cioffi & Holloway, 1993; Masedo &
Esteve, 2007). However, we argue that non-acceptance and sup-
pression are distinct because: (1) non-acceptance is a value judg-
ment about the experience of emotions whereas suppression is
an act taken to control the expression of emotion, (2) it is possible
to accept one’s emotions but choose to suppress their expression
for other reasons (e.g., social desirability) and (3) suppression can
be theoretically assumed to have positive outcomes in some con-
texts (Butler et al., 2003; Elias, 1978) whereas non-acceptance
has only been associated with negative outcomes (Bach & Hayes,
2002;Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999; Heffner, Eifert, Parker, Her-
nandez, & Sperry, 2003; McCracken, 1998). Thus, non-acceptance is
a good candidate to explain the moderation of gender on the sup-
pression–depression link.
1.3. The present study
The first objective of the present study was to replicate the
gender differences found in previous studies of the suppression–
depression link by testing the following hypotheses: (a) suppres-
sion will be positively related to symptoms of depression, (b)
women will have more symptoms of depression than men, and
(c) men will suppress more than women. The second objective
was to examine the moderating effects of non-acceptance and gen-
der on the relationship between suppression and symptoms of
depression. We expected both gender and non-acceptance would
moderate this relationship.
2. Method
2.1. Participants and procedure
Participants were 328 undergraduate students aged 17–24
(M= 19.29), 64% female. Ethnic backgrounds were European–Cana-
dian (67%), East Asian (20%), Other (7%), South Asian (5%) or African
or First Nations Canadian (<1%). Participants were recruited from
undergraduate classes at a university in southern Ontario, Canada.
Participants completed a questionnaire booklet taking 25 min
and were compensated with $5.
2.2. Measures
2.2.1. Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ; Gross & John, 2003)
Participants indicate agreement with items on a scale from 1
(strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The 4-item Suppression
scale (Cronbach’s
a
= .78) includes items such as ‘‘I control my
emotions by not expressing them.’’ The 6-item Reappraisal scale
(Cronbach’s
a
= .83) includes items such as ‘‘When I want to feel
less negative emotion (such as sadness or anger), I change what
I’m thinking about’’. The square root of Reappraisal was used in
analyses to correct for skewness.
2.2.2. Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS; Gratz & Roemer,
2004)
The 6-item subscale measuring ‘‘Non-Acceptance of Emotional
Responses’’ reliably differentiates those who accept negative emo-
tions from those who do not. Participants report the frequency of
Non-Acceptance for statements beginning with the phrase: ‘‘When
I’m upset’’ followed by six different ways of feeling about being up-
set such as ‘‘I feel like I am weak’’ and ‘‘I feel embarrassed for feel-
ing that way’’ on a 5-point scale from ‘‘almost never’’ to ‘‘almost
always’’ (Cronbach’s
a
= .81). The log of Non-Acceptance was used
in analyses to correct for skewness.
2.2.3. Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire (MASQ; Keogh &
Reidy, 2000)
For the 12-item General Distress: Depressive Symptoms sub-
scale, respondents indicated how much during the past seven
weeks they experienced symptoms (e.g., ‘‘I felt like a failure’’) on
a 5-point scale from ‘‘not at all’’ to ‘‘extremely’’ (Cronbach’s
a
= .93). Levels of Depressive Symptoms were below the clinical
range in this sample. The log of Depressive Symptoms was used
in analyses to correct for skewness.
3. Results
Means and correlations are displayed in Table 1. As predicted,
Reappraisal was negatively related to Depressive Symptoms and
Non-Acceptance was positively related to Depressive Symptoms.
Unexpectedly, in the full sample, Suppression was not related to
Depressive Symptoms. t-Tests were conducted on all variables (Ta-
ble 2) to test for expected gender differences. Reappraisal was not
different by gender. As expected, women reported more Depres-
sive Symptoms and Non-Acceptance, whereas men reported
greater Suppression. It was also expected that the processes of sup-
pression would be different in men and women, thus correlations
among Suppression and Non-Acceptance within each gender were
calculated separately (Table 3). For men, Suppression and
Non-Acceptance were positively related to Depressive Symptoms.
However, in women, Suppression was not related to Depressive
Symptoms and Non-Acceptance was positively related to Depres-
sive Symptoms. Thus, unexpectedly, Suppression was related to
Non-Acceptance only in women but not in men.
To examine the second objective of this study, hierarchical
regression analyses were performed on the dependent variable
(Depressive Symptoms) using Suppression, Non-Acceptance and
Gender as independent variables. All interaction variables were
created with standardized variables. As shown in Table 4, the main
effects of Gender, Suppression and Non-Acceptance accounted for
21% of the variance in Step 1. Surprisingly, there was not a signif-
icant amount of unique variance of Suppression associated with
Table 1
Correlations among all variables with means (and standard deviations) on diagonal.
Suppression Reappraisal Non-
acceptance
Depressive
symptoms
Suppression 3.43 (1.21)
Reappraisal .04 1.38 (.41)
Non-
acceptance
.20
***
.01 2.17 (.87)
Depressive
symptoms
.10 .17
**
.44
***
.35 (.15)
**
p< .01.
***
p< .001.
J.J. Flynn et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 49 (2010) 582–586 583
Depressive Symptoms when Gender and Non-Acceptance were
included. All the 2-way interactions were added in Step 2 and ac-
counted for an additional 3% of the variance in Depressive
Symptoms. This increase in prediction appeared to be driven by
the interaction between Suppression and Non-Acceptance. Finally,
with the addition of the 3-way interaction in Step 3, the final mod-
el accounted for an additional 2% of the variance in Depressive
Symptoms. To probe this three-way interaction, the regression
model was restructured on high (one standard deviation above)
and low values (one standard deviation below) of Suppression
and Non-Acceptance (Aiken & West, 1991). This interaction is illus-
trated in Fig. 1.
4. Discussion
The goals of this study were to: (1) replicate gender differences
in suppression and (2) examine gender and non-acceptance as
moderators of the relationship between suppression and depres-
sion. Some gender differences in our sample were consistent with
previous research: men suppressed more than women (Gross &
John, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003; Kring & Gordon, 1998) and women
reported more depressive symptoms than men (Kessler et al.,
1994; Nolen-Hoeksema, 2001; Regier et al., 1993; Young et al.,
1990). However, the suppression–depression association was not
present for women or the full sample but it was present for men.
Previous research has not reported separate associations for men
and women, but instead on the full sample regardless of gender
(Gross & John, 2003). Thus, it is possible that the males were driving
those positive bivariate correlations. This further implicates emo-
tion suppression as an important factor in male depression (Addis,
2008). Given the stark contrast between depressive affect and cul-
tural norms of masculinity, suppression may be a consequence of
depressive symptoms as men try to avoid rejection for being unable
to ‘‘take it like a man’’ (e.g., Joiner, Alfano, & Metalsky, 1992). This
may also help to explain the strong correlation between non-accep-
tance of emotions and depressive symptoms for men.
Our moderation analyses illuminated these relations further.
Suppression was only related to depressive symptoms when mod-
erated by gender and/or non-acceptance. These results further
implicated separate emotional processes for men and women.
Lower acceptance of emotions in both men and women was asso-
ciated with more symptoms of depression and suppression had lit-
tle effect on this association. However, for women who accept their
emotions, more expressive suppression was associated with lower
depressive symptoms. Thus, these emotion-accepting women may
be constraining their emotional responses for more prosocial rea-
sons, rather than trying to stifle or deny painful emotional states.
Butler et al. (2007), for example, found that culturally-mediated
norms of emotional expressivity differentiated women’s suppres-
Table 2
t-Test comparison by gender with means (and standard deviations).
tdf Men Women
Suppression 4.52
***
273.96
a
3.80 (1.07) 3.21 (1.25)
Reappraisal .63 325 4.91 (.96) 4.93 (1.10)
Non-acceptance 2.17
*
325 2.02 (.76) 2.26 (.93)
Depressive symptoms 2.50
*
326 2.23 (.86) 2.45 (.86)
Note: All means are reported as raw values but tests were run on transformed
variables.
a
Df adjusted for unequal variances.
*
p< .05.
***
p< .001.
Table 3
Correlations among all variables for men (top right) and women (bottom left).
Suppression Reappraisal Non-
acceptance
Depressive
symptoms
Suppression .02 .07 .19
*
Reappraisal .06 .08 .10
Non-
acceptance
.31
***
.02 .51
***
Depressive
symptoms
.11 .22
**
.39
***
*
p< .05.
**
p< .01.
***
p< .001.
Table 4
Hierarchical regression results.
Step Predictors Total
R
2
R
2
change
bse b
1.21
***
.21
***
Gender .03
a
.02 .09
Suppression .01 .01 .03
Non-accept .07
***
.01 .44
2.24
***
.03
*
Gender .03 .02 .08
Suppression .03
a
.02 .17
Non-accept .08
***
.02 .55
Gender suppression .03
a
.02 .16
Gender non-accept .03 .02 .13
Suppression non-accept .02
*
.01 .11
3.26
***
.02
**
Gender .02 .02 .06
Suppression .02 .02 .13
Non-accept .11
***
.02 .69
Gender suppression .03 .02 .14
Gender non-accept .05
*
.02 .25
Suppression non-accept .03
a
.02 .22
Gender suppression non-
accept
.06
***
.02 .35
a
p< .10.
*
p< .05.
**
p< .01.
***
p< .001.
0.1
0.15
0.2
0.25
0.3
0.35
0.4
0.45
0.5
HighLow
Depressive Symptoms
Suppression
Men, Low NA Men, High NA
Women, Low NA Women, High NA
Fig. 1. Display of the 3-way interaction between gender, suppression and non-
acceptance on depressive symptoms. Note: NA = Non-acceptance.
584 J.J. Flynn et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 49 (2010) 582–586
sion as either an act of prosocial self-regulation associated with po-
sitive outcomes (with norms dictating low expressivity) or an iro-
nic process of unsuccessful regulation associated with elevated
negative affect and poor outcomes (with norms of high expressiv-
ity). In contrast, depressive symptoms in men who accept their
emotions appear to be exacerbated by suppression. When these re-
sults are taken together with those of the current study, different
patterns of emotion regulation by gender seem to be associated
with healthy outcomes (i.e., low depressive symptoms). The
healthiest outcomes for women were associated with accepting
and suppressing emotions and for men with accepting and not
suppressing emotions.
There is a strong theoretical and empirical basis for the role of
cognitive processes, such as negative schemas and dysfunctional
attitudes, in the onset and maintenance of depression (Beck,
1967). There is a less comprehensive understanding of the patterns
of emotional responding and expression associated with both
these cognitive patterns and symptoms of depression. Depression
has been associated with a rigid pattern of emotional expression
(i.e., suppression; Gross & John, 2003) and a flattening of emotional
responding (e.g., Rottenberg, Gross, & Gotlib, 2005). However,
other research has shown that suppression is not always related
to negative outcomes (Butler et al., 2007). Thus, the present results
confirm the complex interactions among negative emotionality,
emotion regulation habits, and various aspects of the social context
(e.g., cultural norms, social goals, expectations). Instead of being a
maladaptive strategy of emotional expression, suppression may be
one of many emotion regulation techniques whose outcomes de-
pend on other factors.
The present study was only preliminary. The next step is to go be-
yond self-report to examine these emotional processes in vivo. For
any study of emotion regulation, it is most useful to be able to distin-
guish emotional arousal processes from regulatory efforts to de-
crease that arousal (Cole, Martin, & Dennis, 2004). Experimental
manipulation of social goals and interaction partners may help to
disentangle these processes. From our data, for example, it is not
clear whether those who accept their emotions do so because their
emotions are less intense. Thus, suppression and low acceptance of
emotions may be functional or adaptive for those who experience in-
tense emotions. It could also be argued that because patterns of emo-
tion experience and expression are constrained by social and gender
norms (e.g., Brody, 1993) that these same forces also affected the
self-report of emotional experience and expression in this study.
Although this is possible, it does not preclude the possibility that
these results accurately represent emotional responding. However,
studies with experimental manipulation of strategies by sex will
provide a stronger evidence base for the conclusions of this paper.
Furthermore, instead of measuring suppression and non-acceptance
of emotions vaguely identified by valence, it would be useful in fu-
ture studies to distinguish between different emotional states. Per-
haps women are more likely to suppress socially accepted
emotions of men (e.g., anger) while men would suppress socially ac-
cepted emotions of women (e.g., sadness).
The impetus of this study was to resolve a conundrum. If men
suppress more than women and suppression is associated with
depressive symptoms, then why do women have more depressive
symptoms than men? Our results did not unequivocally resolve
this conundrum but instead indicated the possibility that the sup-
pression-depression link is more relevant for men than for women.
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... This may be because youth who attempt to suppress their emotions can experience an increase in emotion dysregulation (Hofmann et al., 2009). Suppression has also been linked to anxious and depressive symptomatology (Flynn et al., 2010;John & Gross, 2004;Sch€ afer et al., 2017). Conversely, reflection helps to inhibit impulsive behaviors in the context of emotional circumstances (Fonagy & Luyten, 2018). ...
... Specifically, expressive suppression is confined to expression of emotion, and both the physiological and subjective experience of emotion may be heightened (Gross, 1998a(Gross, , 2002. Our findings add to this research demonstrating that suppression is associated with both greater externalizing and internalizing problems (Flynn et al., 2010;Scott et al., 2015). Future research should continue to examine the use of suppression in clinical versus community youth samples. ...
Article
The Affect Regulation Checklist (ARC) was designed to capture affect dysregulation, suppression, and reflection. Importantly, affect dysregulation has been established as a transdiagnostic mechanism underpinning many forms of psychopathology. We tested the ARC psychometric properties across clinical and community samples and through both parent‐report and youth self‐report information. Clinical sample: Participants included parents (n = 814; Mage = 43.86) and their child (n = 608; Mage = 13.98). Community sample: Participants included independent samples of parents (n = 578; Mage = 45.12) and youth (n = 809; Mage = 15.67). Exploratory structural equation modeling supported a three‐factor structure across samples and informants. Dysregulation was positively associated with all forms of psychopathology. In general, suppression was positively associated with many forms of psychopathology, and reflection was negatively associated with externalizing problems and positively associated with internalizing problems.
... For instance, women tend to be more empathic than men in relation to affective subprocesses such as empathic concern (Mercadillo et al., 2015;Chrysikou and Thompson, 2016;Reyes-Aguilar and Barrios, 2016). Furthermore, women suppress their emotions less than men (Flynn et al., 2010). In addition, training or professional practice could alter components of empathy; for example, expert loving-kindness media- tors tend to show more compassion and empathic concern, whereas cognitive perspective-taking training could alter mentalizing abilities towards the other (Klimecki et al., 2013;Teding van Berkhout and Malouff, 2016;Singer and Engert, 2019). ...
... The expected sex differences were only present in the non-psychotherapists. As has been reported, women tend to have more Empathic Concern, a construct of affectiveempathy, and also tend to express their emotions more than men (Flynn et al., 2010;Chrysikou and Thompson, 2016). Men from the psychotherapists group showed lower scores of expressive suppression when compared with the non-psychotherapists, regardless of sex. ...
Article
In a therapeutic environment a proper regulation of the empathic response strengthens the patient-therapist relationship. Thus, it is important that psychotherapists constantly regulate their own perspective and emotions to better understand the other’s affective state. We compared the empathic abilities of a group of 52 psychotherapists with a group of 92 non-psychotherapists and found psychometric differences. Psychotherapists showed greater scores in Fantasy and Perspective Taking, both cognitive empathy constructs, and lower scores in the use of expressive suppression, an emotional regulation strategy that hampers the empathic response, suggesting that psychotherapists exert top-down processes that influence their empathic response. In addition, the expected sex differences in empathic concern and expressive suppression were only present in the non-psychotherapist group. To see if such psychometric differences were related to a distinctive functional organization of brain networks, we contrasted the resting state functional connectivity of empathy-related brain regions between a group of 18 experienced psychotherapists and a group of 18 non-psychotherapists. Psychotherapists showed greater functional connectivity between the left anterior insula and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, and less connectivity between rostral anterior cingulate cortex and the orbito prefrontal cortex. Both associations correlated with Perspective Taking scores. Considering that the psychometric differences between groups were in the cognitive domain and that the functional connectivity associations involve areas related to cognitive regulation processes, these results suggest a relationship between the functional brain organization of psychotherapists and the cognitive regulation of their empathic response.
... Some studies indicate that women have a higher prevalence of depression than men [1][2][3][4][5], whereas others report no gender differences in depression [6][7][8]. There is also evidence that more men than women report depression in some situations [9,10]. ...
... Adherence to traditional male roles may prompt men to suppress feminine stereotypical symptoms, which may explain why men in this study were significantly more depressed (particularly lonelier) than women, after adjusting for feminine stereotypical symptoms (i.e., adjusted 3-item stereotypes) [10,18,42,60]. An unwillingness to show weakness (e.g., crying and inability to get going) and an inclination to self-focused attention (indicated by low scores on the interpersonal symptom "feeling people were unfriendly") may predispose men to experience more self-isolation or social withdrawal when struggling with depression [18,60]. ...
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Background: Research findings on gender differences in depression are inconsistent. This study investigated gender and depression in the Indonesian population and considered possible confounding effects. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Participants completed the following self-report measures: demographic characteristic questions, the Cultural Orientation Scale, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Gender differences in depression were examined using a generalized linear model. Results: After withdrawals, 265 men and 243 women remained. Women and men did not differ in overall scores and four-factor depression symptoms even after adjusting for cultural orientation and demographic confounding factors, except for the depression symptoms "crying," "cannot get going," and "people were unfriendly." Gender differences in depression became significant after adjusting for stereotypical symptom variance. Men reported being lonelier than women. Conclusions: Possible confounding effects on the association between gender and depression are methodological issues, cultural orientation transition, and stereotypical symptoms. Low depression scores found for gender may reflect dimension-counterpart coping strategies.
... Compared with men, women report more emotion-focused coping methods, including venting, emotional expression, and seeking social support (Billings and Moos, 1984;Ptacek et al., 1994), which may have enabled female students to adapt to the stressful environment more effectively (Cohen, 2004). Within the Chinese culture, males are also expected to exhibit greater expressive suppression than females (Cheng et al., 2009;Flynn et al., 2010;Zhao et al., 2014). Although expressive suppression can reduce the expression of negative emotions, it can have negative effects on cognition and emotion and is not an effective approach to emotion regulation (Gross and Levenson, 1997;Richards and Gross, 2000). ...
Chapter
Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic and government measures implemented to counter the spread of the infection may be a major stressor affecting the psychological health of university students. This study aimed to explore how anxiety symptoms changed during the pandemic. Methods: 676 students (76% females) at Zurich University of Applied Sciences participated in the first (T0) and second (T1) survey waves. Anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-Scale-7 (GAD-7). Risk and protective factors (e.g., COVID-19-related variables) were examined. Results: GAD-7 scores decreased significantly from T0 to T1 (mean change: 􀀀0.446, SE = 0.132, 95% CI: -0.706, -0.186, t = -3.371, df = 659, p = 0.001). Participants with moderate-to-severe anxiety score were 20.2 and 15.6% at T0 and T1, respectively. The following positively predicted anxiety: older age, female gender, non-Swiss nationality, loneliness, participants’ concern about their own health, and interaction between time and participants’ concern about their own health. Resilience and social support negatively predicted anxiety. Conclusions: Our findings provide information for public health measures and psychological interventions supporting the mental health of university students during the COVID-19 emergency.
... Furthermore, the function of the ER strategy could be an important moderator. Individuals may suppress their emotions for prosocial reasons or to block painful emotions (Flynn et al., 2010). In addition, cultural differences have been reported. ...
Article
Background and Objectives The process model of emotion regulation (ER) focuses on strategies used to manage emotions, while the abilities model emphasizes the extent one adaptively responds to negative emotions. We sought to clarify the relationships between components of ER based on both of the abilities (i.e., dysregulation) and process (i.e., strategy use) models, as well as ER flexibility (i.e., choosing the optimal strategy for a given situation) with well-being (happiness, flourishing), internalizing symptoms (depression, anxiety), and disordered eating. Gender differences were explored. Design and Method Participants included 612 undergraduate students (Mage = 20.24) who completed questionnaires measuring ER, well-being, and mental illness. Structural equation modeling was used on cross-sectional data to explore the associations between ER and psychological outcomes. Results :Dysregulation was associated with reduced well-being and greater psychopathology. In terms of strategy use, reappraisal was related to greater well-being and fewer internalizing symptoms, while the opposite relationships were found for suppression. Suppression was also linked to disordered eating. ER flexibility was related to well-being for men only. Further, dysregulation had the largest association with all outcomes. Conclusions Findings suggest that ER abilities may underlie other components of ER and are most central to mental health and illness.
... According to the process model of emotion regulation (Gross, 1998), five major emotion regulation strategies can be used at each of the many steps in the process through emotion-generation: situation selection, situation modification, attention allocation, cognitive reappraisal, and expression suppression. Among them, expression suppression is a strategy directed toward inhibiting behaviors associated with emotional responding (e.g., facial expressions, verbal utterances, and gestures), and has been proven to be effective for reducing arousal (Eippert et al., 2007;Goldin et al., 2008;Flynn et al., 2010;Yuan et al., 2015;Cai et al., 2016). Importantly, by requiring participants to deliberately suppress their expression, previous studies have successfully eliminated the emotional temporal dilation effect and attributed such elimination to the reduction of arousal (Effron et al., 2006;Tian et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Time perception plays a fundamental role in people’s daily life activities, and it is modulated by changes in environmental contexts. Recent studies have observed that attractive faces generally result in temporal dilation and have proposed increased arousal to account for such dilation. However, there is no direct empirical result to evidence such an account. The aim of the current study, therefore, was to clarify the relationship between arousal and the temporal dilation effect of facial attractiveness by introducing a rating of arousal to test the effect of arousal on temporal dilation (Experiment 1) and by regulating arousal via automatic expression suppression to explore the association between arousal and temporal dilation (Experiment 2). As a result, Experiment 1 found that increased arousal mediated the temporal dilation effect of attractive faces; Experiment 2 showed that the downregulation of arousal attenuated the temporal dilation of attractive faces. These results highlighted the role of increased arousal, which is a dominating mechanism of the temporal dilation effect of attractive faces.
... Improving interpersonal communication fits with gendered expectations regarding men's limited emotional expression (Flynn, Hollenstein, and Mackey 2010) and socially valued "emotional stoicism" (de Boise and Hearn 2017). Even in their disavowal of violence, the men in this study communicated their "superiority as perpetrators" (Venäläinen 2019, 11), distinguishing themselves from the "'irrationality' and vulnerability" (Anderson and Umberson 2001, 374) of their female partners by emphasizing their "ability to choose or not choose violence, in a controlled, rational manner" (Venäläinen 2019, 11;Venäläinen and Virkki 2019). ...
Article
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This article critically interrogates the ways in which men's talk about domestic and family violence (DFV) and change reproduce gender hierarchies which are themselves productive of violence. Drawing on interviews with men who have completed a perpetrator program, and building on the work of Hearn (1998), we show that these men’s conceptualizations of change both reflect and contribute to the discursive construction of masculinity, responsibility, and violence. By reflecting on men’s representations of change—and of themselves as “changed” men—we argue that DFV perpetrator interventions constitute a key site for the performance of dominant masculinities, reproducing the gendered discourses underpinning and enabling men’s violence.
... Compared with men, women report more emotion-focused coping methods, including venting, emotional expression, and seeking social support (Billings and Moos, 1984;Ptacek et al., 1994), which may have enabled female students to adapt to the stressful environment more effectively (Cohen, 2004). Within the Chinese culture, males are also expected to exhibit greater expressive suppression than females (Cheng et al., 2009;Flynn et al., 2010;Zhao et al., 2014). Although expressive suppression can reduce the expression of negative emotions, it can have negative effects on cognition and emotion and is not an effective approach to emotion regulation (Gross and Levenson, 1997;Richards and Gross, 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
Although accumulating evidence suggests the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with costs in mental health, the development of students' mental health, including the change from their previous levels of depression and anxiety and the factors associated with this change, has not been well-studied. The present study investigates changes in students' anxiety and depression from before the pandemic to during the lockdown and identifies factors that are associated with these changes. 14,769 university students participated in a longitudinal study with two time points with a 6-month interval. Students completed the Anxiety and Depression subscales of the Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90) before the COVID-19 outbreak (October 2020, Time 1), and the Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS) during the pandemic (April 2020, Time 2). The prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms were 1.44 and 1.46% at Time 1, and 4.06 and 22.09% at Time 2, respectively, showing a 181.94% increase in anxiety and a 1413.01% increase in depression. Furthermore, the increases in anxiety and depression from pre-pandemic levels were associated with students' gender and the severity of the pandemic in the province where they resided. This study contributes to the gap in knowledge regarding changes in students' mental health in response to the pandemic and the role of local factors in these changes. Implications for gender and the Typhoon Eye effect are discussed.
Article
Objectives: Transdiagnostic treatments increasingly include emotion regulation training focused on use of emotional suppression and acceptance. Despite the frequent use of these treatments in depression, little is known about the effects of these strategies in this population. Design: An experimental study. Methods: Eighty Veterans with unipolar depression participated in a study examining effects of these strategies on emotional responding (subjective, behavioural, and physiological). Physiological measures included: heart rate (HR), respiration (Resp), skin conductance (SC), and corrugator electromyography. On Day 1, participants were randomised to one of three conditions (acceptance, suppression, or control) and underwent an autobiographical sad mood induction. On Day 2, participants underwent a similar mood induction one week later. Results: The suppression group demonstrated reduced physiological reactivity (Resp and SC) on Day 1. However, the suppression group reported decreased positive affect on Day 2. Conclusions: Results support short-term effectiveness and longer term costs from suppression use among depressed individuals. Findings may inform application of transdiagnostic emotion regulation treatments and suggest suppression functions differently in depressed versus other clinical populations.
Article
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Acceptance approaches, which have been receiving increased attention within behavior therapy, seek to undermine the linkage between private events and overt behavior, rather than attempting to control the form or frequency of private events per se. Research comparing control versus acceptance strategies is limited. The present study examined the behavioral and subjective impact of a control-based versus acceptance rationale, using a cold pressor task. Subjects in the acceptance group demonstrated greater tolerance of pain compared to the control-based and placebo groups. Only the control-based rationale targeted the subjective experience of pain but it did not differ across rationales. Results confirmed that acceptance was effective in manipulating the believability of reason giving, a key process measure. By encouraging individuals to distance themselves from their private events, acceptance methods may help reduce the use of emotional reasons to explain behavior and hence shift concern from moderating thoughts and feelings to experiencing the consequences of one's action. Acceptance is a promising new technique. Its effect is all the more surprising given that it teaches principles (e.g., "thoughts do not cause behavior") that run counter both to the popular culture and to the dominant approaches within empirical clinical intervention.
Article
Full-text available
Acceptance approaches , which have been receiving increased attention within behavior therapy, seek to undermine the linkage between private events and overt behavior, rather than attempting to control the form or frequency of private events per se. Research comparing control versus acceptance strategies is limited. The present study examined the behavioral and subjective impact of a control-based versus acceptance rationale, using a cold pressor task. Subjects in the acceptance group demonstrated greater tolerance of pain compared to the control-based and placebo groups. Only the control-based rationale targeted the subjective experience of pain but it did not differ across rationales. Results confirmed that acceptance was effective in manipulating the believability of reason giving, a key process measure. By encouraging individuals to distance themselves from their private events, acceptance methods may help reduce the use of emotional reasons to explain behavior and hence shift concern from moderating thoughts and fee lings to experiencing the consequences of one's action. Acceptance is a promising new technique. Its effect is all the more surprising given that it teaches principles (e.g., "thoughts do not cause behavior") that run counter both to the popular culture and to the dominant approaches within empirical clinical intervention.
Article
Given recent attention to emotion regulation as a potentially unifying function of diverse symptom presentations, there is a need for comprehensive measures that adequately assess difficulties in emotion regulation among adults. This paper (a) proposes an integrative conceptualization of emotion regulation as involving not just the modulation of emotional arousal, but also the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of emotions, and the ability to act in desired ways regardless of emotional state; and (b) begins to explore the factor structure and psychometric properties of a new measure, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). Two samples of undergraduate students completed questionnaire packets. Preliminary findings suggest that the DERS has high internal consistency, good test–retest reliability, and adequate construct and predictive validity.
Book
An ACT Approach Chapter 1. What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy? Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Kara Bunting, Michael Twohig, and Kelly G. Wilson Chapter 2. An ACT Primer: Core Therapy Processes, Intervention Strategies, and Therapist Competencies. Kirk D. Strosahl, Steven C. Hayes, Kelly G. Wilson and Elizabeth V. Gifford Chapter 3. ACT Case Formulation. Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Jayson Luoma, Alethea A. Smith, and Kelly G. Wilson ACT with Behavior Problems Chapter 4. ACT with Affective Disorders. Robert D. Zettle Chapter 5. ACT with Anxiety Disorders. Susan M. Orsillo, Lizabeth Roemer, Jennifer Block-Lerner, Chad LeJeune, and James D. Herbert Chapter 6. ACT with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Alethea A. Smith and Victoria M. Follette Chapter 7. ACT for Substance Abuse and Dependence. Kelly G. Wilson and Michelle R. Byrd Chapter 8. ACT with the Seriously Mentally Ill. Patricia Bach Chapter 9. ACT with the Multi-Problem Patient. Kirk D. Strosahl ACT with Special Populations, Settings, and Methods Chapter 10. ACT with Children, Adolescents, and their Parents. Amy R. Murrell, Lisa W. Coyne, & Kelly G. Wilson Chapter 11. ACT for Stress. Frank Bond. Chapter 12. ACT in Medical Settings. Patricia Robinson, Jennifer Gregg, JoAnne Dahl, & Tobias Lundgren Chapter 13. ACT with Chronic Pain Patients. Patricia Robinson, Rikard K. Wicksell, Gunnar L. Olsson Chapter 14. ACT in Group Format. Robyn D. Walser and Jacqueline Pistorello
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Remember when categorizations for emotional responsiveness were simple—type A vs type B, or introverted vs extroverted? Once you read Handbook of Emotion Regulation, edited by respected Stanford psychologist James J. Gross, you’ll long for those days of simplicity. As stated in the book, the complexity of emotion regulation is like a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” (p 87), words used by Churchill to describe Russia. Although several definitions are presented in the text, emotion regulation generally refers to the modification of emotional reactions in the form of activation, inhibition, or more graded modifications.
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This study investigated 3 broad classes of individual-differences variables (job-search motives, competencies, and constraints) as predictors of job-search intensity among 292 unemployed job seekers. Also assessed was the relationship between job-search intensity and reemployment success in a longitudinal context. Results show significant relationships between the predictors employment commitment, financial hardship, job-search self-efficacy, and motivation control and the outcome job-search intensity. Support was not found for a relationship between perceived job-search constraints and job-search intensity. Motivation control was highlighted as the only lagged predictor of job-search intensity over time for those who were continuously unemployed. Job-search intensity predicted Time 2 reemployment status for the sample as a whole, but not reemployment quality for those who found jobs over the study's duration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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thoroughly reviews the existing literature on sex role and gender differences in affective development, and presents some of her own current research on this important topic [focusing on children] / presents consistent research findings that boys and girls significantly differ in emotional expression / Brody appreciates that these gender differences arise from various sources, such as genetics, biological constitution, and socialization / she believes, however, that socialization makes the main contribution to gender differences / discusses historical differences in gender roles that contribute to this differentiated socialization (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)