Emotion regulation strategies in daily life: mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal and emotion suppression

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Most empirical studies of emotion regulation have relied on retrospective trait measures, and have not examined the link between daily regulatory strategies and every day emotional wellbeing. We used a daily diary methodology with multilevel modelling data analyses (n = 187) to examine the influence of three emotion regulation strategies (mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal and emotion suppression) on the experience of daily negative and positive affect. Our results suggested that daily mindfulness was associated with lower negative and higher positive affect whereas the converse pattern was found for daily emotion suppression; cognitive reappraisal was related to daily positive, but not negative affect. When daily mindfulness, suppression and reappraisal were included in the same models, these strategies predicted unique variance in emotional wellbeing. Random slope analyses revealed substantial variability in the utility of these strategies. Indeed the presumably “adaptive” cognitive reappraisal strategy seemed to confer no benefit to the regulation of negative affect in approximately half the sample. Additional analyses revealed that age moderates the effect of cognitive reappraisal on daily negative affect: Higher use of reappraisal was associated with more negative affect for adolescents (aged 17 to 19) but became associated with less negative affect with increasing age. We interpret these results in line with a contextual view of emotion regulation where no strategy is inherently “good” or “bad”.
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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
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Emotion regulation strategies in daily life:
mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal and emotion
Robert Brockman, Joseph Ciarrochi, Philip Parker & Todd Kashdan
To cite this article: Robert Brockman, Joseph Ciarrochi, Philip Parker & Todd Kashdan (2016):
Emotion regulation strategies in daily life: mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal and emotion
suppression, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
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Emotion regulation strategies in daily life: mindfulness,
cognitive reappraisal and emotion suppression
Robert Brockmana,b, Joseph Ciarrochia, Philip Parkera and Todd Kashdanc
aInstitute of Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University – North Sydney Campus,
Strathfield, 2059, Australia; bGraduate School of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia;
cDepartment of Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Most empirical studies of emotion regulation have relied on
retrospective trait measures, and have not examined the link
between daily regulatory strategies and every day emotional well-
being. We used a daily diary methodology with multilevel modelling
data analyses (n= 187) to examine the inuence of three emotion
regulation strategies (mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal and emotion
suppression) on the experience of daily negative and positive aect.
Our results suggested that daily mindfulness was associated with
lower negative and higher positive aect whereas the converse
pattern was found for daily emotion suppression; cognitive reappraisal
was related to daily positive, but not negative aect. When daily
mindfulness, suppression and reappraisal were included in the same
models, these strategies predicted unique variance in emotional well-
being. Random slope analyses revealed substantial variability in the
utility of these strategies. Indeed the presumably “adaptive” cognitive
reappraisal strategy seemed to confer no benet to the regulation of
negative aect in approximately half the sample. Additional analyses
revealed that age moderates the eect of cognitive reappraisal on
daily negative aect: Higher use of reappraisal was associated with
more negative aect for adolescents (aged 17 to 19) but became
associated with less negative aect with increasing age. We interpret
these results in line with a contextual view of emotion regulation
where no strategy is inherently “good” or “bad”.
Diculties in healthy emotion regulation are increasingly viewed as a trans-diagnostic
process underlying a range of clinical problems (Ellard, Fairholme, Boisseau, Farchione, &
Barlow, 2010). Research on emotion regulation has also been shown to have high clinical
relevance, providing empirical and theoretical support for many modern approaches to
psychological therapy (Kring & Sloan, 2009). Emotion regulation has been described as the
process by which individuals modify their emotions, their response to the emotions or the
situations that elicit emotions in order to respond appropriately to environmental demands
(Gross, 1998). Specic strategies have generally been argued to have either “adaptive” or
Emotion regulation;
mindfulness; cognitive
reappraisal; emotion
suppression; diary study
Received 11 February 2016
Accepted 27 July 2016
© 2016 Swedish Association for Behaviour Therapy
CONTACT Robert Brockman Institute of Positive Psychology and Education,
Australian Catholic University – North Sydney Campus, Strathfield, 2059, Australia
“maladaptive” proles based upon their immediate eects on aect, behaviour and cog-
nition, as well as on their relationships to psychopathology (Gross, 1998, 2015; Gross &
John, 2003).
Despite the apparent signicance of emotion regulation strategies to emotional well-
being, there has been limited research into the role of emotion regulation in the daily life
of individuals, and the distinctive contribution of the various strategies to daily emotional
well-being. Empirical studies into emotion regulation have almost entirely relied upon
cross-sectional and experimental research designs (Gross & John, 2003), using a “trait”
approach to measurement where people contribute data from one time point. is approach
is a valid means of examining emotion regulation as a trait, however, other approaches are
needed to uncover the nature of emotion regulation as it occurs in daily life (Gross & John,
2003). is is because results measured at the trait level are oen independent from those
measured at the “state” or “within-person” level (Brose, Voelkle, Lövdén, Lindenberger, &
Schmiedek, 2015; Kashdan & Nezlek, 2012). e present study examined the relative con-
tributions of three of the most common emotion regulation strategies in basic research and
therapy (mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal and emotion suppression) on daily emotional
Each of these three emotion regulation strategies, and why they are likely to be of pro-
found importance to everyday emotional experiences, is discussed. Cognitive reappraisal is
an antecedent-focused strategy and has been dened as a form of cognitive change which
involves construing a potentially emotion eliciting situation in a way that changes its emo-
tional impact before that impact has fully occurred (Gross & John, 2003). A great deal of
research has contrasted reappraisal with suppression. Emotion suppression is a response-
focused strategy that involves the active inhibition of ongoing emotion-expressive behaviour
(Gross & Levenson, 1993).
Previous studies have shown that reappraisal, relative to no emotion regulation and rela-
tive to response-focused emotion regulation, is related to benets in emotional well-being.
Across a range of emotion inducing contexts, reappraisal has been argued to eectively
decrease negative aect, and does so without signicant physiological expense, meaning
there appears to be little to no negative side eects of the strategy (Gross, 2002; Mauss,
Cook, Cheng, & Gross, 2007). Past studies suggest that individuals who report making
frequent use of reappraisal generally experience greater positive emotions and less neg-
ative emotions, and show superior functioning in interpersonal domains across self and
peer-reports (Gross & John, 2003).
A dierent prole has emerged from studies of emotion suppression. Researchers have
found that emotion suppression is useful when people want to alter their emotion-expressive
behaviour, but it fails to provide subjective relief to the experience of negative emotions, and
comes with a substantial cost to cognition, physiology and relationship functioning (Gross,
2002). ese ndings have led to the general conceptualisation of cognitive reappraisal as
being an “adaptive” strategy and emotion suppression as being a “maladaptive” regulatory
strategy (Gross & John, 2003).
Mindfulness has been proposed as an alternative or complement to the more traditional
response-focused strategy of cognitive reappraisal. Mindfulness has been dened as “paying
attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”
(Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4). is denition characterises mindfulness as being made up of
(a) an awareness component where one’s attention is being purposely harnessed towards
the present moment, and (b) an accepting stance towards this experience characterised by
an attitude of curiosity and openness (Bishop, 2002). Placed within an emotion regulation
framework, it has been hypothesised that mindfulness could facilitate a healthy engagement
with, and expression of emotions, guarding against problems associated with both the under
engagement (e.g. alexithymia) and over engagement of emotions (e.g. emotion dysregula-
tion) (Chambers, Gullone, & Allen, 2009). Chambers et al. (2009) argue that mindfulness
is a strategy antithetical to the putatively problematic strategy of emotion suppression, a
view shared by proponents of more recent behavioural and cognitive therapy approaches
such as Acceptance and Commitment erapy (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999). While
cognitive reappraisal is largely concerned with changing the negative content of cognitions
to regulate emotions, mindfulness has been proposed to focus on a person’s capacity to
relate dierently to these cognitions and emotional experiences (Chambers et al., 2009).
Are there regulation strategies that are inherently good or bad?
ere has been a growing interest recently in the idea that emotion regulation strategies may
not be inherently good or bad for emotional well-being. Rather, their value may depend on
the person using them, and the situation in which they are used (Kashdan & Rottenberg,
2010). From this contextual perspective, strategies are not considered universally adaptive
or maladaptive (Aldao, 2013).
Research is starting to support a contextual view of emotion regulation. One study aimed
to investigate if contextual inuences may be involved in the usefulness of emotion sup-
pression (Bonanno, Papa, Lalande, Westphal, & Coifman, 2004). is study involved 101
college students in New York directly aer the 2001 terror attacks. Participants’ ability to
both enhance and suppress emotional expression in the months following the attacks was
measured, and the capacity to both suppress and express within the same participant was
conceptualised as a measure of expressive exibility. e results of this study found that
people who were better able to both enhance and suppress the expression of emotion pre-
dicted lower distress by the end of the second year of college. ese results suggest that the
capacity to suppress emotions may be related to benets to emotional well-being, as long
as this capacity occurs in the context of a corresponding capacity to enhance emotional
A more recent study has reported similar contextual inuences governing the impact of
reappraisal as an emotion regulation strategy (Troy, Shallcross, & Mauss, 2013). is study
hypothesised that reappraisal may be adaptive when stressors are uncontrollable (when the
person has little control over the situation) but maladaptive when stressors can be controlled
(when the person can change the situation). To test this theory, Troy, Shallcross, and Mauss
(2013) measured cognitive-reappraisal ability, severity of recent life stressors, perceived
stressor “controllability” and level of depression amongst 170 participants who had reported
experiencing a stressful life event during the preceding 8 weeks. Results indicated that for
subjects with high perceived stressor “uncontrollability”, higher cognitive reappraisal ability
was associated with lower levels of depression following a stressful life event. In contrast, for
participants with stressors perceived to be more controllable, higher cognitive-reappraisal
ability was associated with greater levels of depression. e authors interpreted these nd-
ings as support of a theoretical model in which particular emotion-regulation strategies are
not adaptive or maladaptive per se rather, their utility is dependent upon context.
In another recent study, Aldao and Nolen-Hoeksema (2012) investigated the impact of
regulatory strategy selection on indices of emotional well-being. In this study, retrospective
reports of emotion eliciting situations were used to overcome some of the problems asso-
ciated with a pure trait-based approach, and to start to understand some of the contextual
inuences governing emotion regulation. is study found that exibility was a predictor
of emotional well-being in its own right for putatively adaptive strategies (e.g. reappraisal,
problem solving), but not for maladaptive strategies (e.g. emotion suppression, self-criticise).
e researchers noted that although a step in the right direction, their research paradigm had
some major limitations as it remained reliant upon retrospective reports, which have been
shown to be subject to reporting biases, and in some studies, to have low correspondence
with concurrent reports. ey thus called for future studies to employ more favourable
methodologies such as ecological momentary assessment and daily diary data collection
to replicate their ndings, and investigate if there are discrepancies between results based
on state level vs. trait-level methodologies (Aldao & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2012).
Research such as this has led to a rening of the original process model of emotion regu-
lation to include a more contextual view of emotion regulation (Gross, 2015). Gross (2015,
p. 17) acknowledges that some strategies appear to have a more adaptive or maladaptive
prole in general (e.g. cognitive reappraisal vs. emotion suppression), yet the adaptiveness
of a given strategy will ultimately depend on “…the person, the situation, and the goals
that person has in that situation. Gross (2015) thus argues that an important area of future
investigation is to examine how the adaptive value of regulatory strategies is inuenced by
personality and contextual variables.
Emotion regulation as a daily process
Only recently have researchers started to investigate emotion regulation in daily life
(Kashdan & Steger, 2006; Nezlek & Kuppens, 2008). Upon examining the relationship
between the strategies of daily cognitive reappraisal and emotion suppression, with daily
events and reactions to them in clinical and non-clinical populations, researchers found that
cognitive reappraisal to have benecial eects on aect, self-esteem and adjustment; with
the converse eects for emotion suppression (Blalock, Kashdan, & Farmer, 2016; Nezlek &
Kuppens, 2008). In non-clinical samples, the adverse eects of daily emotion suppression
were found for both daily positive and negative aect, but the relationship between cognitive
reappraisal and daily reported aect was more complex. Looking at its links with reported
daily level of positive and negative aect only, daily cognitive reappraisal was only found to
be signicantly related to increases in positive aect, with no signicant relationship with
daily negative aect (Nezlek & Kuppens, 2008). is is a somewhat surprising result given
the many empirical studies to date demonstrating reappraisal to be related to decreases
in negative emotions, but is wholly possible given the dierent measurement approaches
implemented. at is, relationships found at the trait level do not necessarily hold at the
state, or daily level (Nezlek, 2007).
A more recent study further examined emotion regulation in daily life in two cohorts
of university students who were prompted to report on their emotional experiences via a
designated palmtop 10 times per day over 7 days (Brans, Koval, Verduyn, Lim, & Kuppens,
2013). is study found that (a) cognitive reappraisal was the least used strategy of the six
strategies measured (the study also included rumination, suppression, distraction, social
sharing and reection), and (b) cognitive reappraisal was not related to daily negative aect
in either cohort, and was only marginally related to increased positive aect in one of the
two cohorts. One of the other major ndings of this study was that whilst three of the
strategies were linked to increases in negative aect (rumination, suppression and sharing);
no strategies were associated with decreases in daily negative aect. e results of these
two daily process studies indicate that some strategies appear to be associated with poorer
emotion regulation (suppression, rumination and sharing), when measured in daily life,
no strategies appeared to be related to decreases in negative aect.
One study has explored the role of daily mindfulness on daily emotion regulation whilst
constructing a state version of the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS) (Brown
& Ryan, 2003). is study found that state mindfulness was discriminable from trait mind-
fulness, and that state mindfulness predicted unique variance in daily positive and negative
aect above and beyond the impact of trait mindfulness.
A sampling of the existing body of work on emotion regulation in daily life suggests that
how emotions are managed in the moment oer unique explanatory power in understanding
the well-being and functioning of individuals. e goal of basic science is to predict what
people will experience and do in their everyday life and daily diary studies oer insight into
these moments for the same person, in various situations, and over time.
The present research
Past research into emotion regulation has overwhelmingly used either retrospective designs,
analogue designs or has used trait measures of emotion regulation with suboptimal ecologi-
cal validity. e few studies that have employed daily measures have focused on comparisons
between reappraisal and suppression, and not included the potential unique value that
mindfulness could contribute to understanding daily emotional well-being.
e present study had four overarching goals. First, we explored the degree of conver-
gence between mean daily and trait measures of emotion regulation and well-being. In
particular, we were interested in the crossover correlations between mean daily and trait
measures of emotion regulation constructs given their divergent measurement approaches.
Second, we examined the extent that daily measures of reappraisal, suppression, and
mindfulness overlapped with each other and predicted unique variance in emotional
well-being. We were particularly interested in the role of mindfulness as a benecial emo-
tion regulation strategy with regards to daily negative aect given the paucity of data on
the benecial forms of emotion regulation on negative aect (Brans et al., 2013), and the
promising results found in an earlier study validating a measure of state mindfulness (Brown
& Ryan, 2003).
ird, we examined the extent that the utility of the three emotion regulation strategies
varied between individuals. If the utility of a strategy depends on the interaction between an
individual and their particular context, then we would expect the link between a strategy’s
use and healthy emotional outcomes would depend on the individual using it. In contrast,
if context makes little dierence, we would expect strategies like mindfulness and cognitive
reappraisal to have the same benet across subjects, and suppression to have the same neg-
ative eect across subjects. Demonstrating that the utility of emotion regulation strategies
depends on the person is thus a prerequisite for a contextual approach to emotion regulation.
Finally, we were interested in the directionality of the eects of the three strategies on
emotional well-being from one day to the next. A key assumption of the emotion regulation
model is that strategies have an impact on levels of experienced aect. Rarely do empirical
studies consider that levels of aect might impact regulation strategies.
Data were collected from 187 college students (40 men, 133 women, 14 with missing data)
with a mean age of 23.9years (SD= 9.06, range 17–63) and an ethnic composition of
53.1% Caucasian, 11.7% Latino/Hispanic, 11.2% Asian, 7.1% African-American, 1.6%
Middle-Eastern, 1.1% Native-American and 6.5% other. e total 187 participants provided
3852days of data at an average of 20.59days per person (SD=2.06).
Participants were recruited through an online portal for students seeking to participate in
research, as well as yers and online advertisements for a study on personality and behaviour.
During the consent process, participants were informed that the purpose of the study was
to better understand people’s experiences of emotions in daily life. Participants completed
a 1 ½h introductory session where they provided baseline data, including demographic
information and trait measures, and were trained how to correctly complete the daily online
survey. Participants were then asked to complete this survey before going to sleep for the
next 21days. Participants received weekly reminder emails emphasising the importance of
compliance, condentiality and the time-and-date stamping of online entries. Aer com-
pleting the study, subjects received research credit as a part of their course unit, and rae
tickets into a draw to win one of ten $25 gi certicates.
Trait emotion regulation
Trait cognitive reappraisal and emotion suppression was measured using the full 10-item
Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) (Gross & John, 2003). e ERQ is designed to
assess individual dierences in the habitual use of cognitive reappraisal and expressive
suppression as emotion regulation strategies. e 6-item trait cognitive reappraisal subscale
has been shown to have adequate internal consistency (.79) and test–retest reliability (.69)
in undergraduate student samples (Gross & John, 2003). e cognitive reappraisal factor
measures the tendency for people to engage in construing potentially emotion-eliciting
situations ways that change its emotional impact (Gross & John, 2003). e 4-item trait
emotion suppression scale has been shown to have acceptable internal consistency (.73)
and test–retest reliability (.69) in undergraduate student samples and measures the ten-
dency for people to engage in active inhibiting of ongoing emotion-expressive behaviour
(Gross & John, 2003).e scale uses a 7-point Likert-type scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree)
to 7 (Strongly Agree), where higher scores indicate increased use of the regulatory strategy.
Trait mindfulness was assessed using the Langer Mindfulness Scale (LMS) (Pirson,
Langer, Bodner, & Zilcha-Mano, 2012). e LMS is a 21-item self-report measure of an
individual’s tendency to be mindful. Each item is assessed using a 7-point Likert-type scale,
ranging from 1=strongly disagree through to 7=strongly disagree with higher LMS scores
reecting higher trait mindfulness. In a pooled sample of 952 undergraduate students and
community members, Bodner and Langer (2001) report Cronbach’s alpha for the LMS total
mindfulness score to be .85.
Trait Positive and Negative Aect
Trait positive and negative aect were measured using the Positive and Negative Aect
Schedule (PANAS) (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). e PANAS is a 20-item self-report
scale that measures positive and negative mood states in relation to several time frames (e.g.
previous week, month). e current study used the PANAS items anchored to the following
statement; “Indicate to what extent you generally feel this way, that is, how you feel on the
average. e negative aect scale consists of 10 adjectives describing negative emotions
(e.g. scared, upset) whilst the positive aect scale consists of 10 adjectives which describe
positive emotions (e.g. interested, proud). Participants rate the degree to which they feel
each emotion on a scale from 1 (very slightly or not at all) to 5 (extremely). e PANAS has
demonstrated good internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha for both scales reported to
be between .87 and .88 (Watson et al., 1988).
Daily emotion regulation
Daily emotion suppression was measured using a modied 3-item state measure adapted of
the 10-item Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (Gross & John, 2003) “I keep my emotions
to myself” (item 2), “When I am feeling positive emotions, I am careful not to express them”
(item 4), and “When I am feeling negative emotions, I make sure not to express them” (item
9). Participants were asked to indicate how frequently they had experienced each item that
day using a 7-point Likert-type scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree), where
higher scores indicate increased use of the regulatory strategy. e ERQ is designed to assess
individual dierences in the habitual use of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression
as emotion regulation strategies. e 3-item state measure of emotion suppression represents
a parsing down from a 4-item state measure used in a previous study (Kashdan & Steger,
2006) which was reported to have high reliability (.97).
Daily cognitive reappraisal was measured using a modied 2-item state measure adapted
from items 1 and 3 of the ERQ. is included the following items; “When I want to feel more
positive emotion (such as joy or amusement), I change what I’m thinking about” (item 1),
and “When I want to feel less negative emotion (such as sadness or anger), I change what
I’m thinking about” (item 3). e cognitive reappraisal factor measures the tendency for
people to engage in construing potentially emotion-eliciting situations ways that change
its emotional impact (Gross & John, 2003). e two items chosen were based upon a study
by Kashdan and Steger (2006) who reported high reliability (.97) for the four item state
measure of cognitive reappraisal.
e 5-item state MAAS (Brown & Ryan, 2003) assesses the short-term expression of a
receptive state of mind in which attention, informed by a sensitive awareness of what is
occurring in the present moment, is simply observing what is taking place as it unfolds
(Brown & Ryan, 2003). For the purposes of this study, a 3-item version of the state MAAS
was used so as not to overburden respondents without any corresponding benet in terms
of validity or reliability (e.g. Farmer & Kashdan, 2012). Two items drawn from the state
MAAS used for the current study were (1) “I found myself preoccupied with the future or
the past” and (2) “I found myself doing things without paying attention. A third item “I
accepted my feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations without judging or trying to change
them” was constructed and added so as to broaden our mindfulness measure to include
an “acceptance” aspect emphasised by some mindfulness researchers (e.g. Bishop, 2002).
Participants were asked to indicate how frequently they had experienced each item that day
using a 6-point Likert-type scale from 1 (almost always) to 6 (almost never), where high
scores reective of increases in daily mindfulness. e original state MAAS has shown
excellent psychometric properties (e.g. reliability=.92; Brown & Ryan, 2003), and to be
predictive of trait MAAS scores, and both lower negative, and higher positive daily aect
independent of the trait MAAS (Brown & Ryan, 2003).
Daily positive and negative aect
Daily positive and negative aect was measured by responses to four positively valanced
adjectives (enthusiastic, happy, satised and excited) and four negatively valanced adjectives
(embarrassed, disappointed, anxious and sad). Participants answered using a 7-point scale
with endpoints 1=“Did not feel this way at all” and 7=“Felt this way very strongly”. e
daily negative (.68) and positive aect (.73) measures have been found to have adequate
reliability in a previous diary study (Machell, Goodman, & Kashdan, 2015).
We used multilevel modelling data analysis techniques to account for the nested structure
of our data with 3852days within 187 people. A multilevel modelling approach allowed
us to test for individual variation in slopes using the “lme4” (Bates, Maechler, Bolker, &
Walker, 2014) and “nlme” (Pinheiro, Bates, DebRoy, Sarkar, & R Core Team, 2016) packages
of the statistical program “R” Version 3.1.3 (R Core Development Team, 2016). A control
for autoregressive error structures was applied to all multilevel models with the exception
of the lagged (time contingent) models. Including this error structure did not substantively
change any of the results of the multilevel models.
Exploratory plots were examined across the repeated measures data, and a linear model was
conrmed as adequately describing the trajectories. Where possible, all 21 time points were
included in the analysis although there were incomplete data in some cases. e average
intra-class correlations (ICCs) for daily reappraisal, mindfulness and suppression were .63
(95%CI=.58−.68), .49 (95%CI=.43−.54) and .57 (95%CI=.52−.62), respectively, indicating
an acceptable level of variability in the daily measures of emotion regulation. e ICCs for
daily negative and positive aect were 0.33 (95%CI=.28−.39), and 0.39 (95%CI=.33−.44)
suggesting that 67% and 61% of the variability in negative and positive aect was within
person. Means, standard deviations, reliabilities and correlations between daily and trait
emotion regulation, and positive and negative aect are displayed in Table 1.
Table 1.Means, standard deviations, reliabilities and correlations between daily and trait emotion regulation and positive and negative affect.
Notes: Shaded area highlights correlations between trait and mean daily variables. Daily variables are averaged by person. Dark shading highlights correlations between average daily and trait
measures of similar constructs. All daily variables in this table have been averaged by person. Reliabilities for the daily measures were calculated from the ICCs. The reliabilities for the trait measures
represent Cronbach’s alphas.
Significance level indicated by.
*p<.05; **p<.01; ***p<.001.
Relationship between daily and trait measures
e associations between the average of a person’s daily measures and their trait measures are
displayed in Table 1. In general, larger correlations were observed between data collected at
the same level; there was a general lack of association between measures collected at dierent
levels (i.e. daily vs. trait). For example, mean daily negative aect was found to be signi-
cantly related to trait negative aect (.33, p=<.001), however, a person’s mean level of daily
positive aect was not signicantly related to trait positive aect (p=>.05). No signicant
eects were found for cross over relations between mean daily and trait measures for any
of the strategies. e results of these analyses are highlighted in the shaded area of Table 1.
Within-day eects of emotion regulation strategies
For the within-day eects, we rst examined the relationships between strategies. Multilevel
regression analyses revealed daily reappraisal to predict higher levels of daily suppression
=−.11, t(3025)=−2.09, p<.05) and lower levels of daily mindfulness (
=.23, t(3043)
= 4.26, p<.001). Daily mindfulness was found to be related to lower levels of daily emotion
suppression (
=−.28, t(3025)=−4.24, p<.001).
Next we compared a model in which the slopes for each daily strategy were random vs.
a model in which these slopes were xed. Across all three strategies, Chi-Square dierence
tests indicated that the random slope models were signicantly better tting (see Table 2).
Table 3 indicates that the slopes for mindfulness and emotion suppression were signif-
icant (p<.001) for both daily negative and positive aect, demonstrating that in general,
within-person mindfulness was related to benets to emotional well-being whilst emotion
suppression was generally predictive of lower levels of emotional well-being. Similar results
were found with the relationships between daily cognitive reappraisal and positive aect,
with a signicant positive relationship found as expected (p<.001). However, the slope for
daily cognitive reappraisal was not signicant for daily negative aect, meaning the strategy
was not generally associated with lower daily negative aect.
Given the signicance of the random slopes model, we examined the variability in the
eect of each strategy on positive and negative aect. e right side of Table 3 (BLow and
BHigh) presents the slope plus or minus one standard deviation from the mean slope. ese
results can be understood visually in Figures 13. e eects of daily mindfulness tended
to vary from highly positive (e.g. strong link with emotional well-being) to only moderately
positive (relatively weak link to emotional well-being). A similar, but opposite pattern was
observed for emotion suppression. us, mindfulness was generally associated with positive
outcomes and emotion suppression with negative emotional outcomes, but the strength of
Table 2.Results of χ2 difference tests comparing random intercept and random slope models.
Negative aect Dierence df p-value
Mindfulness 26.99 2 <.0001
Reappraisal 75.69 2 <.0001
Suppression 30.88 2 <.0001
Positive aect
Mindfulness 37.83 2 <.0001
Reappraisal 86.92 2 <.0001
Suppression 33.64 2 <.0001
this eect varied signicantly between people. However, as seen in Figure 3, an interesting
prole emerged for the eect between daily reappraisal and negative aect such that among
some people higher daily reappraisal was associated with lower negative aect, whereas for
others it was associated with higher negative aect.
We also found that reappraisal was generally associated with greater positive aect, with
a strong positive relationship observed for some people and a weak positive relationship
for others.
We next assessed the extent that the three strategies predicted unique variance in pos-
itive and negative aect. We conducted a multilevel regression analyses that included all
three emotion regulation strategies as independent variables (predictors) at Level 1 (the
within-person level) with daily negative and positive aect as the dependent variables. e
2-part equation for this model is given below:
0j=γ00+μ0j ,
1j=γ01+μ1j ,
2j=γ02+μ2j ,
In these analyses DailyAectij was the dependent measure for person i on occasion j, and
3j are coecients denoting the random slope between the regulation strategy and
aect.When all three strategies were entered into a regression equation at step one predict-
ing daily negative aect, all were found to be signicant unique predictors (mindfulness
=−1.39, t(3012)=−12.55, p<.001, cognitive reappraisal
=−.31, t(3012)=−2.48, p<.05
and emotion suppression
=.81, t(3012)=6.87, p<.001).
e three emotion regulation strategies were then entered together into a regression
equation at step one predicting daily positive aect again resulting in all three strategies
achieving statistical signicance as unique predictors (mindfulness
=.96, t(3016)=6.80,
p<.001, cognitive reappraisal
=1.44, t(3016)=8.37, p<.001 and emotion suppression
=−.73, t(3016)=−5.30, p<.001).
Table 3.Random slope and random intercept model statistics for daily emotion regulation on daily neg-
ative and positive affect.
Note: Slope (“influence”) was shown to significantly vary by individual, BLow=slope 1 SD.
Below the average. BHigh=slope 1 SD above the average.
Negative aect B SD df BLow BHigh
(Intercept) 9.814* 2.205* 3019 7.609 12.019
Mindfulness −1.517* .896* 3019 −2.413 −.621
(Intercept) 10.163* 2.626* 3031 7.537 12.789
Reappraisal −.202 1.442* 3031 −1.644 1.240
(Intercept) 10.002* 2.516* 3031 7.486 12.518
Suppression 1.027* 1.036* 3031 −.009 2.063
Positive aect
(Intercept) 16.386* 3.408* 3023 12.978 19.794
Mindfulness 1.045* 1.295* 3023 −.250 2.340
(Intercept) 16.103* 3.125* 3034 12.978 19.228
Reappraisal 1.353* 1.780* 3034 −.427 3.133
(Intercept) 16.268* 3.388* 3034 12.88 19.656
Suppression −.795* 1.336* 3034 −2.131 .541
Spill-over eects of emotion regulation strategies
e static, within-day relationships discussed so far do not address the issue of direction-
ality. To gain further insight into the relationship between daily emotion regulation and
emotional well-being, we conducted a series of analyses examining so called “spill-over
eects”; the eect that carries over from one day to the next (e.g. Farmer & Kashdan, 2012).
First we estimated three separate models for each of the three strategies by positive and
Figure 1.Random intercept and slope models for daily mindfulness on daily positive and negative affect.
Note: Red lines indicate participants for whom there is a positive relationship between regulatory strategy and daily affect,
blue lines represent participants for whom there is a negative relationship between regulatory strategy and daily affect.
A colour version of this figure can be found online at
negative aect to examine the eect of previous day strategy use on next day aect expe-
riences. Model 1 examined a basic spill-over eects model with previous day strategy use
predicting next day positive and negative aect. Reciprocal eects were then examined by
estimating the eect of lagged positive and negative aect on next day strategy use. Model
2 then estimated a random slopes model where the slope of daily aect was allowed to vary.
Figure 2.Random intercept and slope models for daily emotion suppression on daily positive and negative
Note: Red lines indicate participants for whom there is a positive relationship between regulatory strategy and daily affect,
blue lines represent participants for whom there is a negative relationship between regulatory strategy and daily affect.
A colour version of this figure can be found online at
Model 3 tested a random slopes model in which strategy use was also allowed to vary. In all
cases, Chi-square dierence tests indicated that Model 2 was the best tting model (p<.01).
Model 2 tested the lagged eect of emotion regulation strategy on next day aect, and then
the lagged eect of daily aect on next day emotion regulation strategy.
Figure 3.Random intercept and slope models for daily cognitive reappraisal on daily positive and negative
Note: Red lines indicate participants for whom there is a positive relationship between regulatory strategy and daily affect,
blue lines represent participants for whom there is a negative relationship between regulatory strategy and daily affect.
A colour version of this figure can be found online at
Results indicate that cognitive reappraisal, emotion suppression and mindfulness have
dierential eects on next day aect experiences. Accounting for previous day’s nega-
tive aect, there was no main eect for cognitive reappraisal on next day negative aect
=−.03, t(2926)=−1.51, p>.05). Reversing this equation, controlling for cognitive reap-
praisal, there was also no main eect for negative aect on next day cognitive reappraisal
=−.006, t(2921)=−1.514, p>.05). Accounting for the previous day’s positive aect, there
was a signicant main eect for cognitive reappraisal on next day positive aect (
t(2933)= 4.387, p<.05). ere was however no signicant reciprocal eect for positive
aect on the next day’s cognitive reappraisal (
=−.001, t(2936)=−.098, p>.05).
Controlling for the previous day’s negative aect, there was no main eect for emotion
suppression on next the day’s negative aect (
=.012, t(2926) = .641, p>.05). Reversing
this equation, controlling for emotion supression, there was a main eect for negative
aect on next day emotion supression (
=.045, t(2921) = 3.08, p<.05). Accounting for
the previous day’s positive aect, there was no main eect for emotion supression on next
day positive aect (
=.021, t(2933)=1.11, p>.05). ere was also no reverse eect for
positive aect on the next day’s emotion suppression (
=−.003, t(2936)=−.25, p>.05).
Mindfulness had the most robust lagged relationships with daily positive and negative
aect. Controlling for the previous day’s negative aect, there was a main eect for mind-
fulness on the next day’s negative aect (
=−.072, t(2913)=−.365, p<.05). Reversing this
equation, controlling for mindfulness, there was also a main eect for negative aect on next
day mindfulness (
=−.043, t(2908)=−2.72, p<.05), supporting a reciprocal inuences
model of the relationship between daily mindfulness and negative aect. Accounting for the
previous day’s positive aect, there was no main eect for mindfulness on next day positive
aect (
=.002, t(2921)=.12, p>.05). ere was however a reverse eect for positive aect
on the next day’s mindfulness (
=.033, t(2914) = 2.09, p<.05).
Gender, age and ethnicity as trait moderators of daily emotion regulation
Next, we explored the potential moderating eect of gender, age and ethnicity on the daily
regulation of positive and negative aect. No signicant interactions were found for gender
or ethnicity (p<.05). However, a signicant interaction was found for cognitive reappraisal
× age for daily negative aect. As can be seen in Figure 4, among the younger adults in the
sample, cognitive reappraisal was associated with higher levels of daily negative aect but
was associated with increasingly lower levels of negative aect with age, crossing a zero
line of eect at about age 20 (
=−.1.24, t(2814)=−2.27, p=.023). No other signicant
interactions were found for regulatory strategies × age.
A plethora of evidence exists suggesting general “adaptive” or “maladaptive” proles for
particular emotion regulation strategies depending on their association with emotional
well-being outcomes (Gross, 2002). Recent theorietical (Gross, 2015) and empirical lit-
erature (Aldao, 2013) on emotion regulation however, suggest a contextual approach to
emotion regulation in which the utlimate adaptivness of a given strategy depends on the
person in a given context. e primary aim of this study was to use daily diary methodology
to further our understanding of the relationship between emotion regulation stategies and
emotional well-being as it is experienced in daily life. A core assumption of this research
being that results obtained from daily measures may dier from those collected from one-
o trait assessments.
In general, associations between daily and trait measures were evidenced to be weak to
non-existent. In particular, correlations between trait and daily measures of similar under-
lying constructs were weakly related overall. For example, trait and daily positive aect were
found to be statistically unrelated meaning that the general degree of positive aect a person
reported at the beginning of the study (trait) was not predictive of their positive aect as
reported over the next 21 days. An exception was daily and trait negative aect which was
found to be modestly related (.33). Trait versions of emotion regulation strategies were found
to be unrelated to their daily counterparts, although there was a trend towards signicance
for daily trait correlations for both reapprasial and suppression. We interpret these, broadly
speaking, low to non-existent daily trait correlations as evidence of the distictivness of the
daily and trait measures. It should be noted however that the daily measure of mindfulness
used in this study was derived from the trait MAAS and not the LMS, the trait mindfulness
measure used in this study. Nonetheless these results suggest that relationships that have
been found at the trait level in the emotion regulation literature from one-o trait admin-
istrations, are likley on occasion to yeild dierent results to measures given daily or more
frequently, consistent with the assertions of Nezlek (2007).
Emotion regulation in daily life
A central nding of the present study relates to the results of the random slope models,
which suggest that for almost all people, daily mindfulness is associated with higher levels
of positive aect and lower levels of negative aect, supporting the idea of a general adaptive
prole for mindfulness (Chambers et al., 2009). e converse pattern was found for emotion
suppression supporting the idea of a general “maladaptive” prole for the strategy. However,
the benet or lack there of varied markedly within people. For example, for some people
Figure 4.Age as a moderator of the relationship between daily cognitive reappraisal and negative affec t.
A colour version of this figure can be found online at
increased mindfulness was associated with substantial decreases in negative aect. For oth-
ers, there was only slight benet of mindfulness, and slight lack of benet in suppression in
relation to emotional well-being. Cognitive reappraisal produced the most complex picture
within person for negative aect. Amongst some people, it was assocated with decreased
negative aect, whereas for others it was associated with increased negative aect.
e nding that daily cognitive reappraisal is not generally related to decreased negative
aect in daily life is inconsistant with a vast literature, informed by a trait measurement
approach, which has generally found the strategy to be related to decreased negative aect
(Gross & John, 2003), and to therefore have a general adaptive prole. e results of the
current study thus converge with those of Brans et al. (2013) who tracked emotion regulation
on multiple instances within days, and similarly found no signicant relationship between
daily cognitive reappraisal and negative aect. Taken together, these two studies provide
initial daily process evidence that on days when people experience lower levels of negative
aect, they do not report engaging in higher levels of cognitive reapprasial. Investigating
this matter further, the current study found that cognitive reappraisal was in fact related to
decreased negative aect in approximately half of the participants, but that in the other half,
it was related to increases in negative aect. is indicates that signicant variation exists
in the relationship between daily reappraisal and negative aect between people. For some
people it seems, reappraisal is associated with benets to emotional well-being, whilst for
others it may have a problematic relationship to emotional well-being.
Notwithstanding these ndings, the current study also found that daily cognitive reap-
praisal was in fact a strong predictor of daily positive aect. One possible implication of this
is that whilst cognitive reappraisal may not necessarily assist with regulating intense negative
emotions once they are activated, the strategy may help with maintaining more consistent
positive aect experiences on a daily basis. A behavioural explanation for this could be that
cognitive reappraisal may contribute to a person’s level of behavioural activation, leading to
increased opportunity to contact rewarding contingencies in the environment, leading to
more positive aect. (e.g. Hayes et al., 1999; Jacobson, Martell, & Dimidjian, 2001). ese
ndings support recent conceptualisations of emotion regulation which frame the eectiv-
ness of dierent emotion regulation stratagies as being dependant on person and context
(e.g. Aldao, 2013; Gross, 2015), and highlights the need for further studies to investigate
moderators and contextual factors which might explain why reappraisal is associated with
benets for some people but not others.
Similar results were found when looking at the eect of strategy use from one day to
the next. Cognitive reappraisal was a signifcant predictor of next day positive aect but
not negative aect. Interestingly, there was no eect of emotion suppression on next day
positive or negative aect, rather negative aect appears to predict more emotion suppres-
sion on subsequent days. For mindfulness, a reciprocal inuence model was supported
for negative aect with mindfulness predicting lower negative aect, and lower negative
aect predicting higher next day mindfulness. However, mindfulness did not predict next
day positive aect, rather positive aect was found to inuence next day mindfulness.
ese “spill-over” ndings suggest a complex relationship between regulatory strategies
and emotional experiences such that the directionality of the relationship may not always
be linear, where strategies directly impact emotional experiences as is oen assumed, rather
emotions appear in some contexts at least to also impact the use of strategies. Similar studies
tracking several instances of emotional experience within days would be expected to shed
further light on the issue of the directionality in the relationship between strategies and
emotional experiences.
Multilevel regressions indicated links between the three daily strategies suggesting that
people oen use multiple and seemingly contradictory strategies on any given day. However,
the correlations between these strategies was weak. For example, there was only about 7%
shared variance between daily mindfulness and suppression, a surprising nding since the
constructs have been proposed by some to be antithetical processes (e.g. Chambers et al.,
2009). Similarly, daily reappraisal was found to predict lower levels of daily mindfulnes,
contrary to some theorietical positions which posit mindfulness to be a prerequisite for
reappraisal ability (e.g. Garland, Gaylord, & Fredrickson, 2011; Troy, Shallcross, Davis,
& Mauss, 2013). Interestingly, reappraisal predicted higher emotion suppression in daily
life suggesting that in some contexts perhaps, cognitive reappraisal may serve an emotion
suppressive function, consistent with the view of cognitive reappraisal held by most mind-
fulness-based approaches to psychotherapy (e.g. Hayes et al., 1999).
Cognitive reappraisal improves with age
e present data suggest that an important factor moderating the eect of daily reappraisal
on negative aect is a persons maturity. For the younger adults in the sample, daily reap-
praisal was associated more negative aect, but for those of 20 years and older, reappraisal
was associated with increasing benets to emotional well-being. Whilst we are cautious given
this university sample is inherently more representitive of younger adults, the impact of age
on cognitive reappraisal deserves further empirical study. In particular, these results are at
odds with the popular notion in the emotion regulation literature (Urry & Gross, 2010),
supported by empirical studies using one-o assessments (e.g. Opitz, Rauch, Terry, & Urry,
2012), that the eectiveness of cognitive reappraisal may actually decline with age. At the
other end of the maturity continuum, our nding that cognitive reappraisal is associated
with decreased benets for teenagers naturally calls for similar daily diary studies of emotion
regulation in younger samples. Broadly speaking, we interprete these age moderator results
as being consistent with a exibility view of emotion regulation (Kashdan & Rottenberg,
2010), and the notion that older adults may become better skilled at both applying (Sahdra,
Ciarrochi, & Parker, 2016) and choosing between the regulatory strategies with age (Urry
& Gross, 2010).
Implications for clinical models
e current ndings have some implications for behavioural and cognitive approaches to
clinical interventions that warrant discussion. Firstly, these results may be interpretated as
challenging to therapy interventions such as traditional CBT which emphasise cognitive
reappraisal of “negative automatic thoughts” as a core theraputic ingredient necessary in
assisting with the regulation of negative emotions. In the current sample, we found that
daily reappraisal showed no consistent relationship to daily negative aect.is may in part
be explained by our secondary analyses which found that cognitive reappraisal was associ-
ated with both increases and decreases in negative aect depending on the person. If these
results were to hold for clinical populations, this would indicate that for people presenting
with high levels of negative aect as a core clinical problem, perhaps the vast majority of
clinical patients, reapprasial may not be a universally benical strategy, and in some cases,
may infact lead to increased negative aect. Future studies are needed, utilising intensive
longditudinal designs such as we have implemented in the current study, with a range of
clinical populations to test if these assertions can be generalised.
Our results also converge with a small but growing literature from CBT treatment out-
come studies which similarly indicate that cognitive reappraisal may not be a universally
useful regulation strategy for promoting health and emotional well-being. For example,
Brozovich and colleagues (Brozovich et al., 2015) recently found in their randomised con-
trolled trial of CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) that decreases in rumination over
the course of their CBT study, rather than increases in reappraisal, were associated with
treatment outcome indicating that in this context at least, reappraisal did not appear to be a
key mechanism of change. Interestingly this study also found a positive relationship between
baseline rumination and reappraisal, indicating that amongst people suerring SAD, reap-
praisal was actually positively associated with rumination. Notwithstanding this, the current
study did nd that cognitive reappraisal was associated with decreased negative aect for
some people and increased positive aect for most, indicating that much more needs to
be studied in relation to the contextual inuences governing cognitive reappraisal, and its
relationship to emotional well-being. Future studies are needed to answer the question of
in what contexts and for whom is cognitive reappraisal an eective emotion regulation
strategy for negative aect? We also interpret the current results as being generally support-
ive of recent “contextual” approaches to therapy which (a) view mindfulness as a broadly
benecial emotion regulation strategy, and (b) which hold that appreciating exibility and
context is fundamental to understanding healthy emotion regulation (Hayes et al., 1999).
In terms of translating these ndings into clinical practice, some strategies appear to
be quite generally problematic (e.g. emotion suppression), whilst others appear to have a
more adaptive general prole (e.g. mindfulness). However, we argue that the current results
point to the importance of a more “contextual” approach to therapy involving emotion
regulation problems, grounded in individualised case formulation, and an appreciation for
the individual and their particular context. at is therapy endeavours involving emotion
regulation may benet from an explicit awareness that all strategies, putativly adaptive or
maladaptive, may be eective for certain people and in certain contexts, and this requires
careful assessment.
Limitations and future directions
Although the methods used in the current study have extended the study of emotion reg-
ulation beyond traditional trait measures and single-occasion measurement, these results
should be interpreted in the light of several limitations. Firstly, our daily measures are
self-report measures that participants completed at the end of the day, albeit in the context
of an intense, repeated measurement design. is means that whilst some of the problems
associated with self-report may have been minimised (e.g. recall bias); they have not been
eliminated completely. Future research may benet from considering additional measure-
ment approaches which minimise bias, such as event-contingent reporting where partici-
pants report events as they occur several times throughout one day.
e current results also relate to emotional experiences in a broad way, describing rela-
tions with global negative and positive aect. Whilst a useful starting point, this design did
not uncover how daily emotion regulation functions with more specic emotions (e.g. guilt,
shame, anger etc.) or dimensions of emotional experiences (e.g. high and low active aect).
Future studies might consider investigating if the current results hold across a range of more
nuanced dimensions of emotion. Relatedly, we have operationalised emotional well-being
in the current study as involving more positive and less negative aect. We acknowledge
that this denition of emotional well-being is not universally accepted, and may in fact
be in direct conict with the stance adopted in many mindfulness-based therapy models
which may emphasise outcomes of quality of life or valued living (e.g. Hayes et al., 1999).
Another potential issue relates to the 2-item daily cognitive reappraisal measure which
retains two items from Gross and Johns (2003) original trait ERQ; “When I want to feel
more positive emotion, I change what I am thinking about” and “When I want to feel less
negative emotion, I change what I am thinking about. Although this 2-item combination
has been used by other authors (e.g. Nezlek & Kuppens, 2008), it could be argued that these
items in isolation may not accurately reect the construct of reappraisal as intended, but
could function more as a form of distraction. We note however that Brans et al. (2013) used
dierent items in their 2-item state measure; “I have changed the way I think about what
causes my feelings” and “did you see the event that caused your feelings from a dierent
perspective?”, and as noted above, reported similar ndings on the lack of relationship
between reappraisal and negative aect.
It should also be noted that the use of the ERQ measures of cognitive reappraisal and
emotion suppression are also very specic, and may not always map meaningfully onto
other denitions of the constructs as they are used in research or in the clinic. For example,
the way in which the reappraisal items are structured (e.g. when I want to experience less
negative emotion, I change what I am thinking) implies that reappraisal is used to avoid
emotions. However, in practice this may not always be the case. For example, in CBT,
reappraisal is oen used in order to help patients to engage more with emotions or emo-
tion eliciting situations (e.g. exposure), or to test out negative beliefs experientially (e.g.
behavioural experiments).
A more major limitation of the current study is that contextual factors outside of “the
person” were not studied. is means that whilst we were able to ascertain that the utility
of emotion regulation strategies diered by person, and that age moderates the eect of one
strategy, we were unable to yet uncover more specic contextual inuences governing daily
emotion regulation. Future studies investigating the contextual nuances of daily emotion
regulation are clearly needed. For example, whilst emotion suppression was generally asso-
ciated with poor emotional well-being for most people, there were still some individuals
for whom emotion suppression appeared to be related to greater emotional well-being over
the course of the study. is is consistent with a contextual view of emotion regulation,
and emerging research which indicates that even putatively “maladaptive” strategies such
as emotion suppression may be associated with benets in some contexts (Mitmansgruber,
Beck, & Schüßler, 2008).
Finally, the use of a sample of university students in this study also limits the generalis-
ability of the results. In particular, given some of the central ndings of this study relate to
the regulation of negative aect, it is important to note that mean levels of negative aect
in this sample appear quite low. is has implications for generalising to clinical samples,
which by their very nature are more likely to be more distressed. Extending the current
ndings to clinical samples, and samples that experience higher levels of negative aect are
thus clearly needed. Relatedly, no data were collected regarding participant’s psychological
history, or their past or current experience of psychotherapy or related practices (e.g. med-
itation). ese variables may be important moderators of daily emotion regulation, and so
warrant attention in future daily process studies.
e current data add to a growing literature in support of a contextual view of emotion
regulation, and the need for more ecologically valid methods to uncover the nature of
emotional well-being. Empirical examinations and intervention programs may benet from
a contextual view of emotion-regulation diculties, where strategies are closely matched
to the person and their particular context. Such a view shows promise in furthering our
understanding of the nuances of emotion regulation, and what are the best contributors to
a particular person’s daily emotional well-being.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Robert Brockman
Joseph Ciarrochi
Philip Parker
Todd Kashdan
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... It is unclear how these processes jointly operate in daily life as they have not been assessed collectively. However, EMA and daily diary studies have generally reported theory-consistent associations between isolated pairs of MMT constructs, including mindfulness and positive affect (e.g., Brockman et al., 2016;Du et al., 2018;Goldberg et al., 2020), reappraisal and positive affect (e.g., Colombo et al., 2021;Nezlek & Kuppens, 2008;Pavani et al., 2016), and mindfulness and wellbeing (Goldberg et al., 2020). Most studies have found bidirectional effects, when time lags have been examined. ...
... Most studies have found bidirectional effects, when time lags have been examined. However, Brockman et al. (2016) found daily reappraisal use predicted lower levels of daily mindfulness. Fewer studies have looked at savoring in daily life, but savoring mediated the impact of daily positive events on momentary positive affect (Jose et al., 2012), and savoring enhanced positive emotions related to positive daily events (Doorley & Kashdan, 2021). ...
... that reappraisal did not influence meaning after 2 weeks, and Brockman et al. (2016) found that daily reappraisal predicted lower levels of daily mindfulness. Conceptually, Bryant and Smith (2015) suggested that mindfulness and savoring may be linked in the absence of reappraisal. ...
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Objectives The mindfulness-to-meaning theory (MMT) describes the processes through which mindfulness leads to enhanced eudaimonic wellbeing (indirectly via mediating processes such as increased decentering, reappraisal, positive affect, and savoring), but little is currently known about how these processes impact one another over short time periods (e.g., across several hours). The current study tested the MMT by measuring these variables repeatedly as they occur naturalistically in daily life. Methods Three hundred and forty-five community members aged 18–65 completed surveys on smartphones six times per day over 7 days, assessing their current levels of decentering, reappraisal, positive affect, savoring, and wellbeing, as part of a larger study. Multilevel structural equation modeling in Mplus was used to analyze the nested data with mediation models. Results There was a significant indirect effect through the proposed MMT pathway at the within-person level, with all variables measured concurrently. Lagged mediation examining prospective effects indicated that the full indirect MMT pathway was not significant in predicting later wellbeing, though some individual indirect pathways were significant prospectively. Follow-up analyses testing alternative temporal ordering suggested bidirectional effects of savoring and positive affect in explaining the mutual association between decentering and wellbeing. Conclusions Overall, this study found support for hypothesized MMT processes in daily life and measured over short time periods, with evidence for bidirectional effects for some processes. However, reappraisal showed inconsistent effects, requiring further study and replication using ecological momentary assessment designs.
... To assess daily mindfulness, we used a three-item measure adapting two items from the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan, 2003) and one item from Brockman et al. (2017). ...
... and accept internal experiences (i.e., "I accepted my feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations without judging or trying to change them.") across a short time frame (Brockman et al., 2017). This scale utilized a 6-point Likert-type format, with scores ranging from 3 to 18 and higher scores indicating higher levels of daily mindfulness (after reverse scoring the third item). ...
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Mental health problems are common in college students and yield poor functional outcomes. Despite these emotional and functional difficulties, only a small percentage of students seek treatment due to barriers such as stigma and lack of resources. College students also prefer Web-based services to in-person services; thus, mobile health interventions may be a favored, viable, and accessible option. Ecological momentary interventions (EMIs) incorporate technology to administer interventions and are widely and effectively applied for heterogeneous psychological problems. Mindfulness-based interventions ameliorate psychological distress and promote psychological well-being in college students. Therefore, the current study examined the effectiveness and perceived utility of an EMI incorporating mindfulness-based messages. Participants were 161 undergraduate students (70.19% female; 80.75% white) randomized to either a mindfulness-based EMI or mood monitoring condition (i.e., ecological momentary assessment (EMA)) for 21 days (2812 daily surveys). Contrary to expectations, the EMA condition did not show different outcomes from the EMI condition. Higher engagement in the mindfulness activities was related to higher levels of positive affect, and participants who reported being more aware of emotions (i.e., thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) due to the messages reported lower emotion dysregulation. More emotional awareness due to the mindfulness messages was related to greater usage of messages and a higher likelihood of recommending skills to a friend, and those reporting increased usage of mindfulness messages were more likely to recommend mindfulness skills to a friend. Participants found the mindfulness messages useful and helpful on average. Implications for research and designing of EMIs are discussed.
... Many times in a day, people are subjected to different types of stimuli that require them to regulate their emotions (Gross, 1998;Gross & Thompson, 2007;Mauss et al., 2007;Thompson, 1994); however, emotion regulation has generally been defined as the efforts people make to influence which emotions they have the moment they have them, as well as the manner in which the emotions are experienced and expressed (Gross et al., 2006). Typical strategies that are commonly used in emotion regulation include problemsolving, mindfulness, acceptance, distraction, reappraisal, rumination, worry, behavioral avoidance, expressive suppression, and experiential avoidance (Brockman et al., 2017;Naragon-Gainey et al., 2017). ...
... Last, acceptance and mindfulness are two strategies that can have positive impacts for coping because they provide mechanisms for accepting the emotions caused by racist events and decrease anxiety (Brockman et al., 2017;Graham et al., 2013;Hwang & Chan, 2019); however, they can potentially become a net negative if they bring about the acceptance of recurrent racist mistreatment and allow for constant exposure to racism that leads to even greater racial stress or trauma (Sobczak & West, 2013;Williams, 2020). They are also not an effective means of stopping future occurrences of racism. ...
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This article reviews the current research literature concerning Black people in Western societies to better understand how they regulate their emotions when coping with racism, which coping strategies they use, and which strategies are functional for well-being. A systematic review of the literature was conducted, and 26 studies were identified on the basis of a comprehensive search of multiple databases and reference sections of relevant articles. Studies were quantitative and qualitative, and all articles located were from the United States or Canada. Findings demonstrate that Black people tend to cope with racism through social support (friends, family, support groups), religion (prayer, church, spirituality), avoidance (attempting to avoid stressors), and problem-focused coping (confronting the situation directly). Findings suggest gender differences in coping strategies. We also explore the relationship between coping with physical versus emotional pain and contrast functional versus dysfunctional coping approaches, underscoring the importance of encouraging personal empowerment to promote psychological well-being. Findings may help inform mental-health interventions. Limitations include the high number of American-based samples and exclusion of other Black ethnic and national groups, which is an important area for further exploration.
... If no event occurred, participants were still asked to report the amount that they used each ER strategy that day. 1 Consistent with past daily diary research (e.g., Battaglini et al., 2021;Starr, 2015), one or two items were used to assess each of the five ER strategies to reduce participant burden and enhance compliance. The cognitive reappraisal and suppression items were derived from the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ; Gross & John, 2003) and past intensive longitudinal studies (Brockman et al., 2017;Kashdan & Steger, 2006). Participants rated their use of cognitive reappraisal by reporting on the items "Changing the way I was thinking in order to feel less negative emotion (e.g., less sad)" and "Changing the way I was thinking in order to feel more positive emotion (e.g., happier)." ...
... Additionally, the field currently lacks research on the validity of single-item measures used in intensive longitudinal designs. The current study derived state-level items (e.g., cognitive reappraisal) from theoretical models (Gross, 2001;Gross & John, 2003), past research (Brockman et al., 2017;Kashdan & Steger, 2006), and validated trait-level measures (e.g., ERQ; Gross & John, 2003). Although the trait-level and state-level measures we assessed in the study were positively associated, future research is required to specifically investigate the validity of the state-level measures used in daily diary research. ...
In contrast to traditional classifications of emotion regulation (ER) strategies as either uniformly maladaptive or adaptive, recent theoretical models emphasize that adaptability is determined by greater ER flexibility (i.e., the ability to flexibly implement and adjust ER strategies based on the context). This study is the first to empirically test the two central perspectives of ER flexibility on affect. A sample of 384 adults (M age=38.58 years, SD=13.82) residing predominantly in North America completed daily diaries for 14 days. We found evidence that theoretical components of ER flexibility, as defined by greater context sensitivity in the selection of ER strategies, greater ER strategy repertoire, enhanced responsivity to affective feedback, and ER-environmental covariation, were associated with adaptive affective outcomes (i.e., reduced negative affect and/or increased positive affect). This study highlights the importance of examining ER flexibility and its consequences as a critical component of ER. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s42761-022-00132-7.
... In the current study, the FFMQ Describe subscale scores were significantly improved from Time 1 to Time 2 which supports the notion that participants following a mindfulness-based intervention will be more likely to engage in expressive rather than suppressive self-regulatory processes. Additional evidence in support of these aforementioned contentions can be identified in studies whereby negative associations between mindfulness and expressive suppression have been documented (Brockman et al., 2017;Ma & Fang, 2019;Parmentier et al., 2019). Furthermore, the significant reduction in the Expressive Suppression subscale in the filtered sample of the current study was coupled with a trend towards significance in the Cognitive Reappraisal subscale. ...
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Objectives Higher education student musicians face high physical, psychological, and emotional demands affecting their well-being and academic experience. This study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of the so-called CRAFT program, based on mindfulness, yoga, positive psychology, and emotional intelligence, to improve psychological well-being, psychological distress, emotional regulation, and physical flexibility amongst tertiary education student musicians. Methods Using a single-arm pre-post study design, student musicians (n = 25) at a royal conservatory of music in Spain followed a 25-week CRAFT program that was curricularly implemented during the academic year 2018/2019, once a week for 50 min. The outcome measures included were the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), the Subjective Psychological Well-Being Subscale (SPWS), the Emotional Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), and the Sit and Reach Test (SRT). Results Paired samples t-test and practical significance analyses revealed significant improvements for the total scale of the FFMQ (g = 0.28), the Observe (g = 0.44) and Describe (g = 0.38) subscales of the FFMQ, the SPWS (g = 0.32), the Reappraisal subscale of the ERQ (g = 0.43), and the SRT (g = 0.39). A similar pattern of results was observed in a filtered sample (n = 15) when excluding participants simultaneously engaged in yoga/meditation activities other than the CRAFT program. Conclusions These results indicated that the CRAFT program is a promising intervention for improving mindfulness skills and health and well-being states and abilities amongst higher education student musicians. Further research is needed to substantiate these findings and extend them to similar settings and populations with complex psychophysical concerns.
... Leaders across the field have called for research to assess the temporal dynamics of emotion regulation strategy use with ecologically valid measures (Aldao, 2013;Gross, 2015). Many studies have considered emotion regulation strategy selection in daily life using ecological momentary assessment (EMA; Brans et al., 2013;Brockman et al., 2017;Daros et al., 2020;Heiy & Cheavens, 2014;Lennarz et al., 2019). Findings from these studies have demonstrated that higher trait-like difficulty with emotion regulation is associated with multiple features in daily life: higher momentary negative affect, more desire to change emotions, more attempts to regulate emotion, higher disengagement relative to engagement emotion regulation strategy use, and lower effectiveness of emotion regulation (Daros et al., 2020). ...
Overreliance on disengagement emotion regulation strategies (e.g., emotion avoidance, emotion suppression) has been shown to relate to poor clinical outcomes. Two traits characterized by difficulties in goal-directed responses to emotion-urgency and distress intolerance-may help explain who is likely to disengage from emotion and when. These traits are associated with diverse forms of psychopathology and greater reliance on disengagement strategies. Gaps remain about how these traits relate to emotion regulation in daily life. The present study uses ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to determine the associations of urgency and distress intolerance with momentary high arousal negative affect and momentary attempts to regulate negative emotions. Participants (N = 101) were college students who endorsed at least weekly behaviors often characterized by emotion dysregulation (e.g., self-harm, binging/purging, alcohol/drug use). Participants completed trait measures at baseline and EMA surveys of momentary affect and emotion regulation, six times daily for 4 days. Results indicated that at certain levels, urgency and distress intolerance moderated the relationship between high arousal negative affect and disengagement from emotion: low urgency scores related to relatively greater disengagement from emotion following reported high arousal negative affect, whereas high distress intolerance scores related to relatively greater disengagement following high arousal negative affect. Findings support the role of both urgency and distress intolerance in the relationship between high arousal negative affect and disengagement, which implicates the utility of clinical interventions that focus on emotion regulation, especially during high arousal states. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... The affective consequences of suppression and sharing may also vary by context. Overall, daily life studies of suppression show that it predicts worse emotional outcomes in the form of greater negative affect (NA) and less positive affect (PA), although the size of these effects varies across studies (Brans, Koval, Verduyn et al., 2013;Brockman et al., 2017;Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Impett et al., 2012;Nezlek & Kuppens, 2008; but see Heiy & Cheavens, 2014). The short-term affective consequences of social sharing are more mixed (Brans, Koval, Verduyn et al., 2013;Cameron & Overall, 2018;Heiy & Cheavens, 2014). ...
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While emotion regulation often happens in the presence of others, little is known about how social context shapes regulatory efforts and outcomes. One key element of the social context is social support. In two experience sampling studies ( N s = 179 and 123), we examined how the use and affective consequences of two fundamentally social emotion-regulation strategies—social sharing and expressive suppression—vary as a function of perceived social support. Across both studies, we found evidence that social support was associated with variation in people’s use of these strategies, such that when people perceived their environments as being higher (vs. lower) in social support, they engaged in more sharing and less suppression. However, we found only limited and inconsistent support for context-dependent affective outcomes of suppression and sharing: suppression was associated with better affective consequences in the context of higher perceived social support in Study 1, but this effect did not replicate in Study 2. Taken together, these findings suggest that the use of social emotion-regulation strategies may depend on contextual variability in social support, whereas their effectiveness does not. Future research is needed to better understand the circumstances in which context-dependent use of emotion regulation may have emotional benefits, accounting for personal, situational, and cultural factors.
In this study, we utilized self-authorship theory to investigate how mindfulness practices support the connection between identity development and interpersonal relationships in STEM graduate students. In an 8-week self-led mindfulness intervention, 10 women from computer science and engineering graduate programs completed a variety of mindfulness exercises, including meditation, yoga, drawing and mindful daily activities (e.g., mindful dishwashing). We utilized a qualitative approach to gather an in-depth picture of each participant’s individual progress. Data analysis showed that students’ experiences, including supportive relationships and sense of identity in STEM, were influenced by interpersonal (dis)connections in and beyond academia. Mindfulness offered space and tools for students to reflect on their relationships and STEM identity and, if needed, modify them. Three themes are discussed: academic relationships with peers and advisors, including negotiating social comparisons; personal relationships with family and friends, including academia-life balance; and the relationship to their STEM identity.
Emotion regulation (ER) abilities involve the capacity to manage the onset and course of emotions in service of situational goals, which facilitates affective changes dependent upon the contextual parameters. Despite the importance of ER abilities to psychopathology, understanding ER abilities across days, and how daily fluctuations in ER abilities relate to mood, is limited. This study examined the role of state ER in predicting positive and negative affect using a daily diary design (2812 daily surveys). Participants differed in within-individual variability for each domain of perceived state ER, and within- and between-individual fluctuations in perceived ER abilities predicted positive and negative affect. Findings support ER theory, given the importance of contextual, momentary changes in informing theoretical ER models. Implications for momentary assessment and intervention are discussed, focusing on contextual behavioral science.
Older adults tend to report maintained or even improved emotional wellbeing compared to younger adults, raising the question of how this age difference emerges. Evidence to date does not support consistent age differences in emotion regulation behaviors, but this may be because few studies have investigated changes in acceptance across the lifespan. Acceptance is a cognitive emotion regulation strategy that involves choosing to not alter an emotional event, but rather allowing oneself to experience the emotions that naturally arise. There is recent evidence to suggest that acceptance use increases across the lifespan, which may be due to interactions between elicitors/outcomes of acceptance and the aging process: elicitors of acceptance may be more prominent in older adulthood and the affective outcomes of acceptance may be more aligned with older adults’ ideal affect. Cognitive aspects of acceptance use are also important to consider in light of age-related changes in cognition; these cognitive considerations point to additional possible explanations for older adults’ increased acceptance use but also set cognitive prerequisites for engaging in acceptance. In the pursuit of understanding the mechanisms of age-related increases in emotional wellbeing, we conclude that acceptance will be especially important to consider for future work.
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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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This study examined whether nonattachment, a relatively new construct in the mindfulness literature, showed convergent, discriminant and incremental validity in relation to the well-studied five facets of mindfulness. Mindfulness was defined as a multifaceted construct including observing, describing, acting with awareness, nonjudging and nonreactivity; and measured using a recently validated 20-item Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Nonattachment was defined as a flexible, balanced way of relating to one’s experiences without clinging to or suppressing them, and measured using the 7-item Nonattachment Scale (NAS-7). In a large nationally representative sample of Americans (N=7884; 52% female; Age: M=47.9, SD=16), nonattachment was positively related to all five aspects of mindfulness. Structural equation modeling showed that the 20-item FFMQ and NAS-7 showed good fit; their factor structures were invariant across genders and age groups; and NAS-7 was empirically distinguishable from the five mindfulness facets. Hierarchical regression models provided evidence of the incremental validity of NAS-7. Finally, mediation models showed that nonattachment substantially mediated the links between the mindfulness facets and the outcome variables of satisfaction with life and life effectiveness.
Technical Report
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Description Fit linear and generalized linear mixed-effects models. The models and their components are represented using S4 classes and methods. The core computational algorithms are implemented using the 'Eigen' C++ library for numerical linear algebra and 'RcppEigen' ``glue''.
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Objective There is growing interest in the role of transdiagnostic processes in the onset, maintenance, and treatment of mental disorders (Nolen-Hoeksema & Watkins, 2011). Two such transdiagnostic processes–rumination and reappraisal–are the focus of the present study. The main objective was to examine the roles of rumination (thought to be harmful) and reappraisal (thought to be helpful) in adults with social anxiety disorder (SAD).Method We conducted a randomized controlled trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with 75 adults with SAD and examined pre- to post-CBT changes as well as weekly fluctuations in rumination, reappraisal, and social anxiety symptoms.ResultsSocially anxious individuals’ baseline rumination (brooding) scores predicted weekly levels of social anxiety, rumination, and reappraisal, whereas baseline reappraisal scores did not. Greater weekly rumination was associated with greater weekly social anxiety, but reappraisal was not related to social anxiety.Conclusion These findings suggest that rumination may have a more significant role than reappraisal in understanding fluctuations in social anxiety during CBT for SAD.
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Experiential avoidance (EA) is a regulatory strategy characterised by efforts to control or avoid unpleasant thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Most studies of EA have used trait measures without considering the effects of EA on psychological functioning in naturalistic settings. To address this gap, we used daily diary methodology to examine the influence of EA of anxiety on everyday well-being. For two weeks, 89 participants provided daily reports of EA, positive and negative affect, enjoyment of daily events and meaning in life (MIL). Daily EA predicted higher negative affect, lower positive affect, less enjoyment of daily events (exercising, eating food and listening to music) and less MIL. The effect of EA on positive affect was not accounted for by the amount of negative affect experienced. Our daily measure of EA was a stronger predictor of daily well-being than a traditional trait measure (The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire). Taken together, results offer insights into the adverse effects of EA on daily well-being and suggest that EA is a context-specific regulatory strategy that might be best captured using a state-dependent measure.
One of the fastest growing areas within psychology is the field of emotion regulation. However, enthusiasm for this topic continues to outstrip conceptual clarity, and there remains considerable uncertainty as to what is even meant by “emotion regulation.” The goal of this review is to examine the current status and future prospects of this rapidly growing field. In the first section, I define emotion and emotion regulation and distinguish both from related constructs. In the second section, I use the process model of emotion regulation to selectively review evidence that different regulation strategies have different consequences. In the third section, I introduce the extended process model of emotion regulation; this model considers emotion regulation to be one type of valuation, and distinguishes three emotion regulation stages (identification, selection, implementation). In the final section, I consider five key growth points for the field of emotion regulation.
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
This study tested whether the structure of affect observed on the basis of between-person (BP) differences is equivalent to the affect structures that organize the variability of affective states within persons (WP) over time. Further aims were to identify individual differences in the degree of divergence between the WP and BP structure and examine its association to dispositional and contextual variables (neuroticism, extraversion, well-being and stress). In 100 daily sessions, 101 younger adults rated their mood on the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. Variability of five negative affect items across time was so low that they were excluded from the analyses. We thus worked with a modified negative affect subscale. WP affect structures diverged reliably from the BP structure, with individual differences in the degree of divergence. Differences in the WP structural characteristics and the degree of divergence could be predicted by well-being and stress. We conclude that BP and WP structures of affect are not equivalent and that BP and WP variation should be considered as distinct phenomena. It would be wrong, for example, to conceive of positive and negative affect as independent at the WP level, as suggested by BP findings. Yet, individual differences in WP structural characteristics are related to stable BP differences, and the degree to which individuals' affect structures diverge from the BP structure can provide important insights into intraindividual functioning. Copyright © 2014 European Association of Personality Psychology