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Abstract

To understand positive emotion regulation, researchers and practitioners must consider a person's unique motivation for specific behaviors within each situation rather than making sweeping (and ultimately inaccurate) generalizations. Two myths about the notion of positive emotion regulation are addressed. Our thesis is that systematic and concerted attention to context will ensure that the wisdom of emotion regulation is more accessible, generalizable, and useful.

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... Emotion regulation refers to all the processes involved in shaping which emotions one experiences, when emotions are experienced, and how these emotions are experienced and expressed (Gross 2015). In science as well as in day-to-day conversation, the scope of emotion regulation is often limited to suppressing negative emotions (Kashdan et al. 2015). However, emotion regulation also refers to the downregulation of positive emotions (e.g., concealing one's enthusiasm about a prospect house in front of the realtor), and to the upregulation of both positive and negative emotions (e.g., respectively, sharing good news to prolong the excitement, and listening to violent music to get pumped up for a confrontational negotiation at work). ...
... For example, strong expression of fear or discomfort in the first few years of life, crying, is a sign of healthy development, and an evolutionary adaptation that is essential for survival and wellbeing. Adaptive emotion regulation can thus entail the upregulation, the downregulation, and the maintenance of positive or negative emotions (Kashdan et al. 2015). ...
... However, in the last decade, the distinction between merely adaptive and maladaptive emotion regulation strategies has been challenged (see for instance, Sheppes and Gross, 2011;Aldao, 2013;Troy et al., 2013;Kashdan et al., 2015). A growing body of research has demonstrated that the efficacy of specific strategies varies markedly across situations and individuals Sheppes et al., 2014;Birk and Bonanno, 2016;Troy et al., 2017). ...
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Background: Stressful situations and psychopathology symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety) shape how individuals regulate and respond to others’ emotions. However, how emotional expressions influence mental health and impact intrapersonal and interpersonal experiences is still unclear. Objective: Here, we used the Flexible Regulation of Emotional Expression (FREE) scale to explore the relationship between emotion expression abilities with affective symptoms and mental health markers. Methods: From a sample of 351 participants, we firstly validate a German version of the FREE scale on a final sample of 222 participants located in Germany, recruited through an online platform. Following, we performed confirmatory factor analyses to assess the model structure of the FREE-scale. We then utilize a LASSO regression to determine which indicators of psychopathology symptoms and mental health are related to emotional expressive regulation and determine their particular interactions through the general linear model. Results: We replicated the FREE scale’s four latent factors (i.e. ability to enhance and suppress positive as well as negative emotional expressions). After selection of relevant instruments through LASSO regression, the suppress ability showed specific negative associations with depression (r=.2) and stress symptoms (r=.16) and positive associations with readiness to confront distressing situations (r=.25), self-support (r=.2) and tolerance of emotions (r=.2). Both, emotional expression enhance and suppress abilities positively associated with coping markers (resilience) and emotion regulation skills. Finally, the interaction effects between emotional flexibility abilities and stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms evidenced that consistently with the flexibility theory, enhance and suppress abilities may predict psychopathological symptoms. Conclusions: These findings emphasize the importance of considering the flexibility to express emotions as a relevant factor for preserved mental health or development of psychopathological symptoms and indicate that online surveys may serve as a reliable indicator of mental health.
... Similarly, it is found that in several of the studies described, the strategies of emotional regulation are assumed to be monolithic, not susceptible of being modified according to the contextual conditions in which the person functions (Dore, Silvers & Ochsner, 2016), their current emotional goals (Dixon-Gordon, Aldao & De los Reyes, 2015;Kashdan et al., 2015), differences in personality style (Vantieghem et al., 2016), cultural valuations and differences in prevalence and health incidents in the regions (Hu et al., 2014). Given this situation, it would be convenient to include more holistic conceptual variants such as the proposal of flexibility in emotional regulation (Aldao, Sheppes & Gross, 2015) as a co-determining factor of BEB behaviors. ...
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There is no document that analyzes the state of the art of scientific research published between 2013 and 2018 in relation to possible interdependence links between emotional regulation [ER] and healthy behaviors associated with Body Energy Balance [BEB] (physical activity, balanced diet and sleep hygiene). To achieve this purpose, an exploratory systematic review was conducted, whose search criteria were “emotion regulation”, “emotion dysregulation” connected with the Boolean operator “AND” to the keywords “sleep hygiene”, “eating behavior” and “physical activity”. Terms like “alexithymia”, “depression”, “stress”, “negative emotions”, and “rumination” were omitted. The methodological quality of the evidence was assessed with a patented rubric. After applying the analysis criteria, 35 articles were obtained, reporting theexistence of reciprocal associations and interactions between ER and at least one of the three behaviors associated with BEB were analyzed. It is concluded that, despite the importance of these behaviors in the vital maintenance of people and the clear impact that emotional regulation has on them, their research has not been sufficient, and more empirical studies in this regard in Latin America are needed.
... However, some evidence suggests that habitual worriers experience more signs of distress after a visual imagery task designed to induce positive feelings of nostalgia (Verplanken 2012). Importantly, the adaptiveness of certain emotional regulatory strategies may depend on the individual and the current context (Kashdan et al. 2015). Thus, research should continue to examine the type of regulation strategies and savoring interventions that are most efficacious among those who experience high levels of worry (e.g., imagery vs. verbal-based tasks; Hirsch and Mathews 2012). ...
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Positive emotional experiences are disrupted across a range of anxiety disorders, but little is known regarding specific symptoms that may inhibit positive emotions. Across two studies (N = 260 and N = 119), associations between worry and positive emotion regulation using questionnaires and a lab-based task were examined. Results from study 1 suggested that over 75% of participants reported worrying about a recent positive event, and this was more common for those with greater trait worry. Across both studies, worry was associated with dysregulation in response to positive experiences. In study 2, participants completed an emotion regulation task involving directed cognitive reflection on a past positive event, which resulted in increased positive affect regardless of trait worry. Overall, results suggest that individuals commonly worry about positive events and that worry is associated with the dysregulation of positive emotions. However, the ability to up-regulate positive emotions when directed may be maintained.
... However, some evidence suggests that habitual worriers experience more signs of distress after a visual imagery task designed to induce positive feelings of nostalgia (Verplanken 2012). Importantly, the adaptiveness of certain emotional regulatory strategies may depend on the individual and the current context (Kashdan et al. 2015). Thus, research should continue to examine the type of regulation strategies and savoring interventions that are most efficacious among those who experience high levels of worry (e.g., imagery vs. verbal-based tasks; Hirsch and Mathews 2012). ...
Article
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Positive emotional experiences are disrupted across a range of anxiety disorders, but little is known regarding specific symptoms that may inhibit positive emotions. Across two studies (N = 260 and N = 119), associations between worry and positive emotion regulation using questionnaires and a lab-based task were examined. Results from Study 1 suggested that over 75% of participants reported worrying about a recent positive event, and this was more common for those with greater trait worry. Across both studies, worry was associated with dysregulation in response to positive experiences. In Study 2, participants completed an emotion regulation task, which involved directed cognitive reflection on a past positive event, which resulted in increased positive affect regardless of trait worry. Overall, results suggest that individuals commonly worry about positive events, and that worry is associated with the dysregulation of positive emotions. However, the ability to up-regulate positive emotion when directed may be maintained.
... On the contrary, the kind of emotional reactivity actually seems to confer some degree of resistance to a relevant psychological distress, a coping strategy to a severe pathological condition. Whether emotion regulation can be categorized as healthy or unhealthy depends therefore on its contextual adaptive meaning (Kashdan, Young, & Machell, 2015). ...
Article
Aim: Emotional reactivity (ER) and neuropsychological (Np) status were investigated in a case series of patients that underwent a surgical ablation of temporal lobe tumors (TLT). Methods: Ten patients (6 females, 4 males) who had undergone surgical ablation of TLT and 10 controls matched for age and gender were recruited. ER was tested using International Affective Picture System (IAPS); Clinical Global Impression evaluated behavioral disturbances, affective symptoms and emotional involvement/reaction to the pathological condition. Np assessment was carried out using well established measures; anatomopatho-logical, neuroradiological and clinical data were also collected. Results: Patients showed more positive valence and higher arousal upon viewing neutral images compared to controls. To a lesser extent, the same pattern was observed with socially pleasant images. No affective symptoms were observed at CGI-BP evaluation. Arousal to negative images, with or without social involvement, revealed a moderately strong relationship with the patient's subjective emotional appraisal of the consequences of the illness. Conclusion: We observed an optimistic emotional environment perception and a detachment from the pathological condition related to lowered emotional involvement and reactivity to negative emotional cues. This pattern of emotional reactivity leads to the hypothesis of an effective coping strategy development to a severe pathological condition.
... This work has included experimental research on basic emotion regulation processes, often focusing on which strategies are most effective to use in the short run (e.g., Webb, Miles, & Sheeran, 2012), as well as correlational research on individual differences in emotion regulation, often focusing on which strategies are most adaptive to use in the long run (e.g., Aldao, Nolen-Hoeksema, & Schweizer, 2010). This research has provided pivotal insights across several domains, including the affective, cognitive, and physiological consequences of specific emotion regulation strategies (Gross, 2002;Richards & Gross, 2000); the importance of positive emotion regulation in fostering psychological wellbeing (e.g., du Pont, Welker, Gilbert, & Gruber, 2016;Kashdan, Young, & Machell, 2015;Tugade & Fredrickson, 2006); and the role of emotion dysregulation in psychopathology (e.g., Cole, Michel, & Teti, 1994;Sheppes, Suri, & Gross, 2015). The rapidly expanding field of emotion regulation has also recently drawn attention to emotion regulation flexibility, which concerns the use of multiple emotion regulation strategies that are selected to correspond to changes across emotional episodes Kashdan & Rottenberg, 2010). ...
Article
The field of emotion regulation has developed rapidly, and a number of emotion regulatory strategies have been identified. To date, empirical attention has focused on contrasting specific regulation strategies to determine their unique profile of consequences. However, it is becoming clear that people commonly pursue multiple regulation approaches within any given emotional episode (e.g., pursuing different regulation goals, strategies, or tactics). We refer to the concurrent or sequential use of multiple approaches to regulate emotions within a single emotion episode as polyregulation. Here, we extend existing theoretical frameworks of emotion regulation to consider polyregulation. We then pose several core questions to summarize and inspire research on polyregulation, thereby improving our understanding of emotion regulation as it unfolds in everyday life.
... However, others have suggested that effective use of any ERSs (regardless of type) is associated with better mental health ( Kashdan et al., 2014), or argued that nearly every ERS can appear healthy at the surface level but can be misused . In relation to engagement in artistic creative activities such as singing, where both positive and negative emotions may be regulated by the activity, it could be argued that both avoidance and approach strategies have the potential to be beneficial ( Kashdan et al., 2015). Indeed, a large body of literature has demonstrated the beneficial effects of singing and music for mental health in young children, adolescents and adults, with a wide range of both approach and avoidance ERSs appearing to play a key role ( Saarikallio and Erkkilä, 2007;Saarikallio, 2011;Winsler et al., 2011). ...
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Over the past two decades, many musical experiences have become mediated by digital technology, including the distribution of music online, the generation of new content and participation in virtual musical experiences. However, whether virtual musical experiences lead to different experiences of social presence or differential use of emotion regulation strategies (ERSs) compared to live musical experiences remains un-researched. We compared the experiences of 1,158 singers in a virtual choir (VC) with the experiences of 1,158 singers from a live choir using propensity score matching based on a range of demographic, social and musical factors. Participants in VCs reported a slightly greater feeling of social presence than participants in live choirs [t(1157) = -19.85, p < 0.002]. They also made less use of overall ERSs [t(1157) = 3.10, p = 0.002], avoidance strategies [t(1157) = 4.51, p < 0.001], and approach strategies [t(1157) = 3.34, p < 0.001]. However, they made greater use of self-development strategies [t(1157) = -3.11, p = 0.002]. Social presence was associated with greater use of all ERSs. This study showed that although a sense of social presence in a choir is not reduced by engagement in VCs compared to live choirs, there is a lowered use of ERSs when engaging in VCs. However, as the difference in use of ERSs is relatively modest, virtual musical experiences may still have a role to play in supporting those who cannot engage in live experiences such as people who are socially isolated.
... People, however, are not just passive recipients of positive emotions but, to some extent, they are able to modulate their experience of emotions by employing various emotion regulation strategies during emotional episodes (Kashdan, Young, & Machell, 2015). Thus, whereas previous research highlighted the role of positive emotions in the trait EI-SWB relationship, the current study aims to complement this earlier work by focusing on the role of positive emotions regulation as a potential explanatory mechanism for the link between trait EI and SWB. ...
Article
The present study focuses on the role of positive emotion regulation as a potential mechanism for linking trait emotional intelligence (EI) and subjective well-being (SWB). We examined whether the savouring and dampening of positive emotions mediate the relationship between trait EI and the two components of SWB: life satisfaction and subjective happiness. A sample of 254 participants completed measures of trait EI, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, and the typical use of savouring and dampening strategies. Analyses indicated that trait EI was positively correlated with the two components of SWB and savouring strategies, and negatively correlated with dampening strategies. Furthermore, savouring strategies were positively related to life satisfaction and subjective happiness, whereas dampening strategies were negatively related to life satisfaction and subjective happiness. Notably, path analyses indicated that the savouring and dampening of positive emotions partially mediated the relationship between EI and both life satisfaction and subjective happiness. The findings corroborate an important role of trait EI in promoting SWB and suggest that part of its beneficial effect reveals itself through positive emotion regulation.
... On some occasions, people report a preference to maintain/enhance negative emotions or reduce positive emotions (Riediger, Schmiedek, Wagner, & Lindenberger, 2009). Kashdan, Young, and Machell (2015) suggest that this may be linked to the usefulness of negative emotions and that people have some awareness of their utility. For instance, participants were more likely to try and increase anger when they knew that they were heading to a confrontational situation rather than a collaborative one, and that experiencing anger led them to be more successful in their confrontation (Tamir & Ford, 2012). ...
Article
Evolutionary theories suggest that all affective states have a function. The fascinating review "Can Sadness Be Good for You? On the Cognitive, Motivational and Interpersonal Benefits of Mild Negative Affect" by Joseph Forgas is a welcome reminder that happiness is not the be all and end all-sadness can also be beneficial. In this commentary, I summarise the studies conducted by Forgas et al. that demonstrate the benefit of mild negative affect for memory, judgement, motivation, and interpersonal behaviour (and those that do not), link them to current theories and models, and discuss avenues for future research.
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The objective of this study was to understand if and for whom anger regulation relates to later reading and math achievement. The sample included 267 upper elementary school students from two schools (5% Asian, 10% Black, 6% Latinx, 17% Multiethnic/Other, and 62% White; 36% dual language learner; 60% female; average age = 9.7 years). Self-reported anger regulation and self- and teacher-reported emotional engagement were assessed. Then, reading and math standardized achievement were tested by the schools approximately three months later. Latent variable path analyzes suggested that withdrawal when experiencing anger (“anger withdraw”) had a significant, positive relation with later reading and math achievement outcomes, when controlling for other anger regulation strategies and demographics. Latent student- and teacher-reported emotional engagement moderated the relation of anger withdraw with later reading achievement. Discussion centers on anger regulation, moderation, and implications of anger regulation for school psychologists.
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Emotion regulation strategies vary widely in use and effectiveness across psychological diagnostic categories. However, little data exists on (1) the use of these strategies in social anxiety disorder (SAD), and (2) how trait measures compare with actual daily use of emotion regulation strategies. We collected trait and daily assessments of emotion suppression, cognitive reappraisal, and positive and negative emotions from 40 adults with SAD and 39 matched healthy controls. Participants with SAD reported greater trait suppression and less cognitive reappraisal than healthy controls, and exhibited this same pattern of emotion regulation in daily life. Participants overall reported worse emotional experiences when suppressing positive (vs. negative) emotions, and better emotional experiences when reappraising to feel more positive (vs. less negative) emotions. However, SAD participants exhibited greater benefits (specifically increased positive emotions) from reappraising to feel less negative than healthy controls. These findings highlight the importance of positive emotion regulation strategies, particularly for individuals with SAD.
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How is positive emotion associated with our ability to empathize with others? Extant research provides support for two competing predictions about this question. An empathy amplification hypothesis suggests positive emotion would be associated with greater empathy, as it often enhances other prosocial processes. A contrasting empathy attenuation hypothesis suggests positive emotion would be associated with lower empathy, because positive emotion promotes self-focused or antisocial behaviors. The present investigation tested these competing perspectives by examining associations between dispositional positive emotion and both subjective (i.e., self-report) and objective (i.e., task performance) measures of empathy. Findings revealed that although trait positive emotion was associated with increased subjective beliefs about empathic tendencies, it was associated with both increases and decreases in task-based empathic performance depending on the target's emotional state. More specifically, trait positive emotion was linked to lower overall empathic accuracy toward a high-intensity negative target, but also a higher sensitivity to emotion upshifts (i.e., shifts in emotion from negative to positive) toward positive targets. This suggests that trait positive affect may be associated with decreased objective empathy in the context of mood incongruent (i.e., negative) emotional stimuli, but may increase some aspects of empathic performance in the context of mood congruent (i.e., positive) stimuli. Taken together, these findings suggest that trait positive emotion engenders a compelling subjective-objective gap regarding its association with empathy, in being related to a heightened perception of empathic tendencies, despite being linked to mixed abilities in regards to empathic performance. (Word count: 242).
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Emotion regulation has been conceptualized as a process by which individuals modify their emotional experiences, expressions, and physiology and the situations eliciting such emotions in order to produce appropriate responses to the ever-changing demands posed by the environment. Thus, context plays a central role in emotion regulation. This is particularly relevant to the work on emotion regulation in psychopathology, because psychological disorders are characterized by rigid responses to the environment. However, this recognition of the importance of context has appeared primarily in the theoretical realm, with the empirical work lagging behind. In this review, the author proposes an approach to systematically evaluate the contextual factors shaping emotion regulation. Such an approach consists of specifying the components that characterize emotion regulation and then systematically evaluating deviations within each of these components and their underlying dimensions. Initial guidelines for how to combine such dimensions and components in order to capture substantial and meaningful contextual influences are presented. This approach is offered to inspire theoretical and empirical work that it is hoped will result in the development of a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the relationship between context and emotion regulation. © The Author(s) 2013.
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Choice behavior is considered the fundamental means by which individuals exert control over their environments. One important choice domain that remains virtually unexplored is that of emotion regulation. This is surprising given that healthy adaptation requires flexibly choosing between regulation strategies in a manner that is responsive to differing situational demands. In the present article, we provide a broad conceptual framework that systematically evaluates the rules that govern the ways individuals choose between different emotion regulation strategies. This conceptual account is buttressed by empirical findings from 6 studies that show the effects of hypothesized emotional, cognitive, and motivational determinants of regulation choice (Studies 1-3) and illuminate the mechanisms that underlie choices between different emotion regulation strategies (Studies 4-6). Broad implications and future directions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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Although previous research has uncovered various ways people can savor or dampen their positive emotional experiences, the unique impact of each of these strategies on well-being remains unknown. The present study examines the relative impact of the main positive emotion regulation strategies on two components of well-being: positive affect (PA) and life satisfaction (LS). A total of 282 participants completed measures of PA, LS, overall happiness, and the savoring and dampening strategies they typically used. Results show that when experiencing positive events, focusing attention on the present moment and engaging in positive rumination promoted PA, whereas telling others promoted LS. In contrast, being distracted diminished PA, while focusing on negative details and engaging in negative rumination reduced LS. As the strategies targeted different components of well-being, our results further show that regulatory diversity (i.e., typically using various strategies rather than a few specific ones), was beneficial to overall happiness. Our findings suggest that there are several independent ways to make the best (or the worst) out of our positive emotions, and that the cultivation of multiple savoring strategies might be required to achieve lasting happiness.
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Background: Research has shown that beliefs about one's capacity to savour positive outcomes, a form of perceived control over positive emotions, are largely independent of beliefs about coping, a form of perceived control over negative emotions. Aim: To describe a new measure of savouring beliefs, the Savoring Beliefs Inventory (SBI). Method: Six studies validating the SBI that is designed to assess individuals' perceptions of their ability to derive pleasure through anticipating upcoming positive events, savouring positive moments, and reminiscing about past positive experiences. Results: SBI scores were found to be: (a) positively correlated with affect intensity, extraversion, optimism, internal locus of control, reported self-control behaviours, life satisfaction, value fulfilment, self-esteem, and intensity and frequency of happiness; (b) negatively correlated with neuroticism, guilt, physical and social anhedonia, hopelessness, depression, and the frequency of unhappy and neutral affect; and (c) uncorrelated with socially desirable responding. SBI was validated prospec-tively by first measuring college students' savouring beliefs and then later assessing their behaviours and affects in looking forward to, enjoying the actual experience of, and looking back on their Christmas vacation. Within each of the three time frames, the relevant SBI subscale generally predicted behaviours and affects more strongly than did the subscales associated with the other two temporal orientations. Finally, SBI was cross-validated in a sample of older adults. Conclusion: These results provide strong evidence that the SBI is a valid and reliable measure of individuals' beliefs about their capacity to savour positive experiences through anticipation, present enjoyment, and reminiscence.
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Despite centuries of speculation about how to manage negative emotions, little is actually known about which emotion-regulation strategies people choose to use when confronted with negative situations of varying intensity. On the basis of a new process conception of emotion regulation, we hypothesized that in low-intensity negative situations, people would show a relative preference to choose to regulate emotions by engagement reappraisal, which allows emotional processing. However, we expected people in high-intensity negative situations to show a relative preference to choose to regulate emotions by disengagement distraction, which blocks emotional processing at an early stage before it gathers force. In three experiments, we created emotional contexts that varied in intensity, using either emotional pictures (Experiments 1 and 2) or unpredictable electric stimulation (Experiment 3). In response to these emotional contexts, participants chose between using either reappraisal or distraction as an emotion-regulation strategy. Results in all experiments supported our hypothesis. This pattern in the choice of emotion-regulation strategies has important implications for the understanding of healthy adaptation.
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According to an instrumental approach to emotion regulation (M. Tamir, in press), people may not always prefer to feel pleasant emotions and avoid unpleasant ones. Instead, they may be motivated to experience even unpleasant emotions when they might be useful for goal attainment. Given that fear serves to promote successful avoidance, these studies tested this hypothesis by examining preferences for fear in preparation for avoidance goal pursuits. Consistent with the predictions of the instrumental approach, participants preferred to increase their level of fear as they prepared to pursue an avoidance goal. Such preferences were higher than preferences for either excitement or anger and were unique to avoidance (vs. approach or confrontational) goal pursuits. Given the aversive nature of fear, these findings clearly demonstrate that people may sometimes prefer to feel bad if doing so can lead to instrumental benefits.
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The present study examined how people regulate their emotions in daily life and how such regulation is related to their daily affective experience and psychological adjustment. Each day for an average of 3 weeks, participants described how they had regulated their emotions in terms of the reappraisal and suppression (inhibiting the expression) of positive and negative emotions, and they described their emotional experience, self-esteem, and psychological adjustment in terms of Beck's triadic model of depression. Reappraisal was used more often than suppression, and suppressing positive emotions was used less than the other three strategies. In general, regulation through reappraisal was found to be beneficial, whereas regulation by suppression was not. Reappraisal of positive emotions was associated with increases in positive affect, self-esteem, and psychological adjustment, whereas suppressing positive emotions was associated with decreased positive emotion, self-esteem, and psychological adjustment, and increased negative emotions. Moreover, relationships between reappraisal and psychological adjustment and self-esteem were mediated by experienced positive affect, whereas relationships between suppression of positive emotions and self-esteem adjustment were mediated by negative affect.
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Positive emotions are vital to attaining important goals, nurturing social bonds, and promoting cognitive flexibility. However, one question remains relatively unaddressed: Can positive emotions also be a source of dysfunction and negative outcomes? An ideal point of entry to understand how positive emotion can go awry is bipolar disorder, a psychiatric disorder marked by abnormally elevated positive emotion. In this review I provide an overview of recent experimental evidence from individuals at risk for, and diagnosed with, bipolar disorder. I present a novel account of positive-emotion disturbance, referred to as positive emotion persistence (PEP), and consider potential mechanisms. The central thesis guiding PEP is that persistent activation of positive emotion across contexts and not solely in response to positive or rewarding stimuli is a marker of emotion dysfunction in bipolar disorder. I discuss implications for the study of bipolar disorder and positive emotion generally.
Article
BACKGROUND: Researchers have linked bipolar disorder to elevations in reward sensitivity and positive affect. Little is known, however, about how people with bipolar disorder respond to rewards and positive affect and how these tendencies relate to functioning or quality of life. METHODS: Persons diagnosed with bipolar I disorder and matched controls completed the Responses to Positive Affect (RPA) measure and the Brief Quality of Life in Bipolar Disorder scale. Bipolar participants also completed the Reward Responses Inventory, which we designed to assess the extent to which participants avoid rewarding activities to prevent mania. A subsample of participants with bipolar disorder completed a positive mood induction procedure to examine the validity of the Response to Positive Affect scale. RESULTS: The majority of bipolar participants reported avoiding at least one rewarding activity as a means of preventing mania. In addition, people with bipolar I disorder reported more dampening responses to positive affect than did control participants. Dampening positive emotions was related to lower quality of life. LIMITATIONS: This study does not address whether responses to affect and reward are related to the longitudinal course of symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that people with bipolar I disorder seem to be aware of the potential of goal achievements to trigger mania, and many people with bipolar disorder seem to take steps to avoid positive emotion and reward.
Article
Is it adaptive to seek pleasant emotions and avoid unpleasant emotions all the time or seek pleasant and unpleasant emotions at the right time? Participants reported on their preferences for anger and happiness in general and in contexts in which they might be useful or not (i.e., confrontations and collaborations, respectively). People who generally wanted to feel more happiness and less anger experienced greater well-being. However, when emotional preferences were examined in context, people who wanted to feel more anger or more happiness when they were useful, and people who wanted to feel less of those emotions when they were not useful, experienced greater well-being. Such patterns could not be explained by differences in the perceived usefulness of emotions, intelligence, perceived regulatory skills, emotional acceptance, social desirability, or general emotional preferences. These findings demonstrate that people who want to feel unpleasant emotions when they are useful may be happier overall. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
According to the instrumental approach to emotion regulation, people may want to experience even unpleasant emotions to attain instrumental benefits. Building on value-expectancy models of self-regulation, we tested whether people want to feel bad in certain contexts specifically because they expect such feelings to be useful to them. In two studies, participants were more likely to try to increase their anger before a negotiation when motivated to confront (vs. collaborate with) a negotiation partner. Participants motivated to confront (vs. collaborate with) their partner expected anger to be more useful to them, and this expectation in turn, led them to try to increase their anger before negotiating. The subsequent experience of anger, following random assignment to emotion inductions (Study 1) or engagement in self-selected emotion regulation activities (Study 2), led participants to be more successful at getting others to concede to their demands, demonstrating that emotional preferences have important pragmatic implications.
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Traditionally, positive emotions and thoughts, strengths, and the satisfaction of basic psychological needs for belonging, competence, and autonomy have been seen as the cornerstones of psychological health. Without disputing their importance, these foci fail to capture many of the fluctuating, conflicting forces that are readily apparent when people navigate the environment and social world. In this paper, we review literature to offer evidence for the prominence of psychological flexibility in understanding psychological health. Thus far, the importance of psychological flexibility has been obscured by the isolation and disconnection of research conducted on this topic. Psychological flexibility spans a wide range of human abilities to: recognize and adapt to various situational demands; shift mindsets or behavioral repertoires when these strategies compromise personal or social functioning; maintain balance among important life domains; and be aware, open, and committed to behaviors that are congruent with deeply held values. In many forms of psychopathology, these flexibility processes are absent. In hopes of creating a more coherent understanding, we synthesize work in emotion regulation, mindfulness and acceptance, social and personality psychology, and neuropsychology. Basic research findings provide insight into the nature, correlates, and consequences of psychological flexibility and applied research provides details on promising interventions. Throughout, we emphasize dynamic approaches that might capture this fluid construct in the real-world.
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Subjective well-being (SWB) comprises a global evaluation of life satisfaction and positive and negative affective reactions to one's life. Despite the apparent simplicity of this tripartite model, the structure of SWB remains in question. In the present review, the authors identify five prominent structural conceptualizations in which SWB is cast variously as three separate components, a hierarchical construct, a causal system, a composite, and as configurations of components. Supporting evidence for each of these models is reviewed, strengths and weaknesses are evaluated, and commonalities and discrepancies among approaches are described. The authors demonstrate how current ambiguities concerning the tripartite structure of SWB have fundamental implications for conceptualization, measurement, analysis, and synthesis. Given these ambiguities, it is premature to propose a definitive structure of SWB. Rather, the authors outline a research agenda comprising both short-term and longer-term steps toward resolving these foundational, yet largely unaddressed, issues concerning SWB.
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Socially anxious individuals frequently tend to disqualify positive social experiences and outcomes. However, no formal measure of Disqualificationof Positive Social Outcome (DPSO)-related tendencies has yet been reported. The purpose of the present series of studies was to develop the Disqualification ofPositive Social Outcomes Scale (DPSOS) and examine its psychometric profile across several independent samples, including a large (n=585) undergraduate sample; a clinical sample of individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder (n=14), and a demographically-equivalent sample of non-socially anxious control participants (n=14). The factorial validity, internal consistency, and construct validity of the DPSOS subscales were examined. Results provide preliminary support for the psychometric properties of the DPSOS. Implications of DPSO as to assessment and treatment of social anxiety disorder are discussed.
Article
We examined the relationships between six emotion-regulation strategies (acceptance, avoidance, problem solving, reappraisal, rumination, and suppression) and symptoms of four psychopathologies (anxiety, depression, eating, and substance-related disorders). We combined 241 effect sizes from 114 studies that examined the relationships between dispositional emotion regulation and psychopathology. We focused on dispositional emotion regulation in order to assess patterns of responding to emotion over time. First, we examined the relationship between each regulatory strategy and psychopathology across the four disorders. We found a large effect size for rumination, medium to large for avoidance, problem solving, and suppression, and small to medium for reappraisal and acceptance. These results are surprising, given the prominence of reappraisal and acceptance in treatment models, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and acceptance-based treatments, respectively. Second, we examined the relationship between each regulatory strategy and each of the four psychopathology groups. We found that internalizing disorders were more consistently associated with regulatory strategies than externalizing disorders. Lastly, many of our analyses showed that whether the sample came from a clinical or normative population significantly moderated the relationships. This finding underscores the importance of adopting a multi-sample approach to the study of psychopathology.
Article
Using a mobile-phone-based experience-sampling technology in a sample of 378 individuals ranging from 14 to 86 years of age, we investigated age differences in how people want to influence their feelings in their daily lives. Contra-hedonic motivations of wanting either to maintain or enhance negative affect or to dampen positive affect were most prevalent in adolescence, whereas prohedonic motivations of wanting either to maintain, but not enhance, positive affect or to dampen negative affect were most prevalent in old age. This pattern was mirrored by an age-related increase in self-reported day-to-day emotional well-being. Analyses of the emotional experiences that accompanied prohedonic and contra-hedonic motivations are consistent with the notions that contra-hedonic motivations are more likely to serve utilitarian than hedonic functions, and that people are more likely to be motivated to maintain negative affect when it is accompanied by positive affect. Implications for understanding affective development are discussed.
Article
Although individual differences exist in how people respond to positive affect (PA), little research addresses PA regulation in people with anxiety disorders. The goal of this study was to provide information about responses to PA in people with symptoms of social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The tendency to dampen PA and the ability to savor PA were examined in an undergraduate sample. Analyses examined the unique links between these reactions and symptoms of anxiety disorders, controlling for a history of depression. Given the high comorbidity of depression and anxiety, exploratory analyses further controlled for generalized anxiety disorder. Results demonstrated that one or both measures of affect regulation made a unique and substantial contribution to predicting each anxiety disorder except agoraphobia, above and beyond prediction afforded by symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical implications and areas for future research are discussed.
Article
Four studies evaluated the success of behaviors and strategies used to self-regulate bad moods, raise energy, and reduce tension. Study 1 (N = 102) used an open-ended questionnaire to identify behavioral categories. Studies 2 and 4 surveyed a representative sample (N = 308) with a fixed-response questionnaire to quantify behaviors, general strategies, and individual differences. Study 3 used psychotherapist (N = 26) judgments of the likely success of the strategies. Therapist and self-rating converged on success of strategies and gender differences. These studies clarify and confirm previous research findings, particularly gender differences in controlling depression. Exercise appears to be the most effective mood-regulating behavior, and the best general strategy to change a bad mood is a combination of relaxation, stress management, cognitive, and exercise techniques. Results support a 2-dimensional biopsychological model of mood.
Article
Individuals regulate their emotions in a wide variety of ways. Are some forms of emotion regulation healthier than others? We focus on two commonly used emotion regulation strategies: reappraisal (changing the way one thinks about a potentially emotion-eliciting event) and suppression (changing the way one responds behaviorally to an emotion-eliciting event). In the first section, we review experimental findings showing that reappraisal has a healthier profile of short-term affective, cognitive, and social consequences than suppression. In the second section, we review individual-difference findings, which show that using reappraisal to regulate emotions is associated with healthier patterns of affect, social functioning, and well-being than is using suppression. In the third section, we consider issues in the development of reappraisal and suppression and provide new evidence for a normative shift toward an increasingly healthy emotion regulation profile during adulthood (i.e., increases in the use of reappraisal and decreases in the use of suppression).