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Positive and Negative Emotion Regulation in College Athletes: A Preliminary Exploration of Daily Savoring, Acceptance, and Cognitive Reappraisal


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Background Despite increasing interest in positive psychological states, we know little about how regulatory responses to positive (savoring) compared to negative events (e.g. acceptance, cognitive reappraisal) influence emotional functioning. Savoring may be particularly helpful for athletes who are often trained to attend more to negative (e.g. rectifying weaknesses) compared to positive stimuli (e.g. enjoying progress). Methods Sixty-seven college athletes completed a two-week daily diary study. Using multi-level modeling, we first explored whether various regulatory responses to daily negative events predicted unique variance in daily emotions (i.e. happy, content, grateful, sad, angry, annoyed). Next, we tested whether savoring positive events strengthened the association between event intensity and positive daily emotions. Finally, we tested whether regulatory responses to positive compared to negative events had stronger moderating (buffering) effects on the association between daily negative event intensity and daily emotions. Results Based on 836 daily observations, reappraising and accepting negative events were the only strategies that predicted unique variance in daily emotions. Savoring enhanced positive emotions related to positive events. Reappraising negative events buffered associations between negative event intensity and decreased daily gratitude, while savoring positive events buffered associations between negative event intensity and increased anger, annoyance, and average negative emotions. Accepting negative events had similar effects. Conclusions Savoring positive events may be an underappreciated strategy for helping athletes regulate emotions related to negative events. Since our sample predominantly identified as white and female, further research is needed to understand savoring use and effectiveness among the full, diverse spectrum of college athletes.
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Cognitive Therapy and Research
Positive andNegative Emotion Regulation inCollege Athletes:
APreliminary Exploration ofDaily Savoring, Acceptance, andCognitive
JamesD.Doorley1· ToddB.Kashdan1
Accepted: 31 December 2020
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature 2021
Background Despite increasing interest in positive psychological states, we know little about how regulatory responses to
positive (savoring) compared to negative events (e.g. acceptance, cognitive reappraisal) influence emotional functioning.
Savoring may be particularly helpful for athletes who are often trained to attend more to negative (e.g. rectifying weaknesses)
compared to positive stimuli (e.g. enjoying progress).
Methods Sixty-seven college athletes completed a two-week daily diary study. Using multi-level modeling, we first explored
whether various regulatory responses to daily negative events predicted unique variance in daily emotions (i.e. happy, content,
grateful, sad, angry, annoyed). Next, we tested whether savoring positive events strengthened the association between event
intensity and positive daily emotions. Finally, we tested whether regulatory responses to positive compared to negative events
had stronger moderating (buffering) effects on the association between daily negative event intensity and daily emotions.
Results Based on 836 daily observations, reappraising and accepting negative events were the only strategies that predicted
unique variance in daily emotions. Savoring enhanced positive emotions related to positive events. Reappraising negative
events buffered associations between negative event intensity and decreased daily gratitude, while savoring positive events
buffered associations between negative event intensity and increased anger, annoyance, and average negative emotions.
Accepting negative events had similar effects.
Conclusions Savoring positive events may be an underappreciated strategy for helping athletes regulate emotions related to
negative events. Since our sample predominantly identified as white and female, further research is needed to understand
savoring use and effectiveness among the full, diverse spectrum of college athletes.
Keywords Emotion regulation· Acceptance· Cognitive reappraisal· Savoring· Athletes
College athletes face challenges beyond those of typical
undergraduates in the United States (Kimball and Frey-
singer 2003). These include rigorous training and com-
petitive schedules with minimal days off, frequent travel,
external pressures to perform, difficulties with coaches and
teammates, athletic and academic role conflict, and insuf-
ficient time to nurture non-sport relationships and activities
(Broughton and Neyer 2001; Cosh and Tully 2015; Lou-
don etal. 2013; Settles etal. 2002; Watson and Kissinger
2007). Effectively regulating emotions that arise from daily
stressors is crucial for optimal functioning (e.g. Min etal.
2013; Troy and Mauss 2011; Tugade and Fredrickson 2007).
However, an overreliance on global trait measures of emo-
tion regulation (e.g. Gross and John 2003; Uphill etal. 2012)
and a predominant focus on sport-specific situations (e.g.
Gaudreau and Blondin 2004a, b; Martinent etal. 2015; Poc-
zwardowski and Conroy 2002) gives an incomplete picture
of the regulatory strategies and stressors college athletes
encounter in sport and life.
Numerous studies have explored strategies for regulat-
ing negative emotions, such as cognitive reappraisal (i.e.
changing one’s thinking about a situation; e.g. Gross and
John 2003; McRae etal. 2012), acceptance (i.e. mindfully
acknowledging distressing emotions or situations without
struggling to change them; e.g. Gratz and Tull 2010; Wolgast
etal., 2011), problem-solving (e.g. Bell and D’Zurilla 2009),
* James D. Doorley
1 Department ofPsychology, George Mason University, MS
3F5, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA22030, USA
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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social support seeking (e.g. Marroquín 2011), and cognitive
and behavioral avoidance (i.e., trying not to think or act in
ways that exacerbate distress; Kashdan etal. 2006; Olatunji
etal. 2010). Evidence suggests that certain strategies, such
as cognitive reappraisal and acceptance, are associated with
healthier emotional functioning, while strategies involving
suppression or avoidance of distress are associated with
emotional dysfunction (e.g. Brockman etal. 2017; Hofmann
etal. 2009; Kuba and Scheibe 2017; Machell etal. 2015;
Moore etal. 2008). Experience-sampling methods, such as
smartphone-based daily diary and ecological momentary
assessment (EMA), have been used to uncover the temporal
dynamics, contextual correlates, and consequences of these
regulatory strategies in the daily lives of healthy adults and
clinical populations (e.g. Benson etal. 2019; Colombo etal.
2020; Gruber etal. 2013; Ludwig etal. 2020; Visser etal.
2018). Research suggests experience sampling methods mit-
igate recall bias when assessing momentary psychological
states, including emotions (e.g. Ellison etal. 2020; Scollon
etal. 2009).
More intensive experience sampling methods (e.g. EMA)
have been used successfully to study athletes’ self-talk dur-
ing sport performance (e.g. Dickens etal. 2018; Van Raalte
etal. 2019), but no studies to our knowledge have tested the
feasibility of EMA for studying emotion regulation in col-
lege athletes’ daily lives during their competitive seasons.
Given college athletes’ demanding schedules, daily diary
methods (i.e. recalling and reporting on daily experiences
at the end of each day) have been more frequently used to
capture college athletes’ psychological experiences in daily
life (e.g. Riley etal. 2020; Shapiro etal. 2017; Shorey etal.
2014; Tamminen etal. 2019). Daily diaries demonstrate
considerable yet imperfect agreement with real-time EMA
measures when assessing daily emotions, with specific bias
toward recalling stronger/more salient emotional experi-
ences when thinking about the day as a whole (Neubauer
etal. 2019). However, this bias makes daily diaries suitable
for capturing particularly strong emotional experiences in
daily life – both positive and negative – and associated emo-
tion regulation strategies.
Only recently have researchers begun to explore the regu-
lation of positive emotions related to daily positive events.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal data suggest that savor-
ing, a set of cognitive-behavioral strategies to upregulate
positive emotions related to positive events (e.g. counting
blessings, sharing with others, deeply processing sensory
details), enhances positive emotions (e.g. Bryant and Veroff
2007; Jose etal. 2012; Silton etal. 2020; Sytine etal. 2019;
Quoidbach etal., 2015). Consistent with savoring theory
(e.g. Bryant and Veroff 2007), evidence from daily diary
studies suggest that savoring moderates (strengthens) asso-
ciations between positive events and momentary positive
emotions (Jose etal. 2012). Interestingly, diary data also
suggest that savoring moderates (buffers) the negative asso-
ciation between daily hassles and daily hope, optimism, and
self-efficacy (Sytine etal. 2019), suggesting that savoring
may promote healthy responses to daily stressors. Similarly,
brief 1–2week savoring interventions have been shown to
downregulate negative emotions and enhance resilience
(defined as the ability to bounce back from stressful experi-
ences; Smith etal. 2008), at post-intervention (Hurley and
Kwon 2013; McMakin etal. 2011) and three months later
(Smith and Hanni 2019). With grueling schedules comprised
of more “journeys” (training and practice) than “arrivals”
(winning games or tournaments, individual accolades, etc.),
savoring smaller daily achievements and positive events may
be an overlooked strategy for enhancing college athletes
emotional functioning in the face of daily stressors.
Despite an abundance of research on regulatory responses
to negative emotions and experiences, there is still much
to learn about effective emotion regulation strategies for
college athletes in daily life. Given the culture of college
sports in the United States, which prizes relentless efforts to
improve, ameliorate deficiencies, and learn from defeat, ath-
letes may benefit from noticing and savoring daily positive
experiences, such as incremental sport improvement or time
spent with teammates. Savoring is associated with increased
positive emotions and healthy responses to daily negative
events, suggesting savoring may be at least as effective as
other frequently studied regulatory strategies focused solely
on negative events/emotions (e.g., cognitive reappraisal,
acceptance). To our knowledge, only two experience sam-
pling studies of savoring exist (Jose etal. 2012; Sytine etal.
2019) and none have focused on athletes or compared the
effects of savoring to other regulatory strategies on daily
emotions. Using daily diary assessments over a two-week
span during athletes’ competitive seasons, we tested the fol-
lowing hypotheses:
1. Controlling for negative event intensity, daily emotion
regulation strategies will be associated with the quality
of daily emotional experiences. Specifically, greater use
of cognitive reappraisal, acceptance, problem-solving,
and social support in response to daily negative events
will be associated with more daily happiness, content-
ment, and gratitude and less sadness, anger, and annoy-
ance. Greater use of cognitive and behavioral avoidance
in response to daily negative events will be associated
with the opposite (i.e., less daily happiness, content-
ment, and gratitude and more sadness, anger, and annoy-
2. Consistent with existing theory (Bryant and Veroff 2007)
and research (Jose etal. 2012), savoring daily positive
events will moderate associations between positive event
intensity and the quality of daily emotions such that
greater savoring will strengthen the positive association
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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between positive event intensity and positive emotions
and strengthen the negative association between positive
event intensity and negative emotions.
3. Similar to the most effective regulatory strategies from
Hypothesis 1, savoring positive events will moderate
(buffer) associations between greater daily negative
event intensity and (1) less positive emotion and (2)
more negative emotions at the daily level.
Participants andProcedures
Participants were 67 collegiate athletes from George Mason
University (GMU; n = 53) and Catholic University of Amer-
ica (CUA; n = 14). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, colle-
giate sports were suspended during the Spring 2020 season.
Thus, we were forced to un-enroll an additional 30 Spring
sport athletes who signed consent. Our final sample of ath-
letes represented various sports, including women’s soccer,
women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s swimming and
diving, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s
cross country and track and field, women’s lacrosse, and
softball. Recruitment procedures differed slightly between
universities. At GMU, team coaches were contacted via
email and given general study information. If coaches
expressed interest, a member of the research staff scheduled
a meeting with their teams to explain our study, train athletes
on the daily diary software (PACO Personal Analytics Com-
panion; Evans 2017), and obtain informed consent. At CUA,
athletes were recruited directly via flyers and mass emails.
Athletes were eligible to participate if they spoke and read
English and owned a smartphone with a reliable internet
connection. The average age of the final sample was 19.85
(SD = 1.25). Participants were 89% women; 91.1% White,
3.5% Hispanic/Latino, 2.4% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 2.9%
Athletes who provided written consent to participate
were re-contacted via email and invited to complete base-
line questionnaires and demographics (as part of a larger
study on college athlete resilience) followed by a daily
diary assessment via PACO (Personal Analytics Compan-
ion; Evans 2017). Athletes from different teams completed
the daily diary portion of the study at different times during
their respective seasons, which were specified by coaches
(at GMU) or the athletes themselves (at CUA) based on the
number and importance of practices and competitions. Par-
ticipants were pinged daily at 7:00 PM for 14 consecutive
days to complete short, 5–10min surveys about their day,
which included questions about their most positive and nega-
tive events that day, positive and negative emotions, and reg-
ulatory responses to their most positive and negative events.
Participants were instructed to complete surveys after finish-
ing all sport-related activities and before 3:00 AM the fol-
lowing day. Participants were compensated with up to $40 in
Amazon eGift cards for their participation ($10 for baseline
assessment, up to $30 for completing all daily diaries). All
procedures were approved by both universities’ IRBs.
Positive andNegative Emotions
Daily positive and negative emotions were measured using
select emotion adjectives from the Positive and Negative
Affect Schedule-Extended Form (PANAS-X; Watson and
Clark 1999) using the stem, “How much does this word
describe your mood today?” Responses were on a 5-point
Likert scale from (1 = “Very slightly or not at all, 2 = “A lit-
tle, 3 = “Moderately, 4 = “Quite a bit, 5 = “Extremely”).
Original emotion items from the PANAS-X included,
Cheerful, Joyful, Content, Sad, and Angry. We added two
additional items for this study: Grateful and Annoyed. We
used only seven emotion items for greater simplicity and
lower participant burden while capturing emotions across
the valance and arousal dimensions (e.g., Joyful = high
valence/high arousal, Content = high valence/low arousal,
Angry = low Valance/high arousal, Sad = low valence/low
arousal; see Gerber etal. 2008). Since Joyful and Cheerful
were highly correlated at the between- (r = 0.95) and within-
person level (r = 0.70), we combined to form a composite
variable, Happy. The resulting three positive emotion adjec-
tives were averaged to create the positive emotions scale
(RC = 0.84), and the three negative emotion adjectives were
averaged to create the negative emotions scale (RC = 0.77).
To explore the impact of regulatory strategies on specific
positive and negative emotions, we entered individual emo-
tion items/adjectives as outcomes in analyses for Hypotheses
2 and 3.
Positive andNegative Events
Participants reported on their most positive event that day
with the following item: “Please describe today’s most
positive event. Be as specific as you can. They rated the
intensity of their most positive events (“How positive
was this event?”) on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = “Not at
all, 2 = “A little, 3 = “Moderately, 4 = “Quite a bit,
5 = “Extremely”). Participants also reported on their most
negative event that day (“Please describe today’s most nega-
tive event. Be as specific as you can.). Consistent with the
primary and secondary appraisal model of coping (Lazarus
2006; Lazarus and Folkman 1984), participants then pro-
vided an appraisal of the intensity of their most negative
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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event each day (“How negative was this event?”) using the
same 5-point Likert scale.
Ways ofSavoring Checklist (WOSC; Bryant andVeroff 2007)
Participants rated the extent they savored their most posi-
tive daily events using four WOSC items with the highest
factor loadings from Jose etal. (2012). Items were rated
on a 5-point Likert Scale (1 = “Not at all, 2 = “A little,
3 = “Moderately, 4 = “Quite a bit, 5 = “Extremely”).
Items included, “I talked to another person about how
good I felt,” “I looked for other people to share it with,” “I
thought about what a lucky person I am that so many good
things have happened to me,” and “I thought about shar-
ing the memory of this later with other people.” Savoring
items were averaged together to create a total savoring score
(RC = 0.75).
Emotion Regulation Strategies
Participants rated the extent that they used various emotion
regulation strategies in response to daily negative events
using items from Aldridge-Gerry and colleagues’ daily
coping scale. Items were rated on a 4-point Likert scale
(1 = “Not at all, 2 = “A little, 3 = A medium amount,
4 = “A lot”). The factor structure of this scale was validated
in an undergraduate sample (Roesch etal. 2010). Items from
this scale were drawn from other published coping measures
with valid total scores in college student and older adolescent
samples, including the Brief COPE (Carver 1997; Carver
etal. 1989) and the Responses to Stress Questionnaire (Con-
nor-Smith etal. 2000). For the present study, we focused on
frequently researched regulatory strategies that we believed
would be associated with SC, including, Social Support
Seeking (RC = 0.75) – comprised of Emotion-Focused (two
items; e.g., “I talked to my family about how I was feeling”)
and Problem-Focused Support (RC = 0.82) (two items; e.g.,
“I figured out what I could do by talking to my friends”),
Cognitive Reappraisal (RC = 0.78) (2 items; originally called
“positive cognitive restructuring,” e.g., “I reminded myself
that things could be worse”), Acceptance (RC = 0.32) (two
items; e.g., “I learned to live with it”), Problem-Solving
(RC = 0.82) – comprised of Direct Problem-Solving (2 items;
e.g., “I did something to solve the problem”) and Cognitive
Decision-Making (2 items; e.g., “I thought about what I
need to know to solve the problem”), Behavioral Avoidance
(RC = 0.51) (two items; originally called “avoidant actions,
e.g., “I tried to stay away from the problem”), and Cogni-
tive Avoidance (RC = 0.43) (two items; e.g., I tried to put it
out of my mind). Research suggests that this measure, and
the scales from which it is adapted, predict daily alcohol
consumption (Aldridge-Gerry etal. 2011), trait levels of fear
(Ollendick etal. 2001), heart-rate reactivity to stress and
internalizing/externalizing symptoms (Connor-Smith etal.
2000), and changes in the symptom severity of psychological
disorders (e.g., Meyer 2001). Subscale reliabilities will be
further discussed in the results section.
Data Analytic Strategy
To evaluate the interdependence of observations, we exam-
ined the intraclass correlations (ICCs) for each outcome
(daily happiness, gratitude, contentment, sadness, anger,
and annoyance). Results showed a substantial proportion
of variance was attributable to differences between people
(ICC range = 0.23–0.48; Table1). As such, hypotheses were
tested using two-level models with daily observations (level
1) nested within people (level 2), though no level 2 vari-
ables were used as predictors or outcomes in analyses. All
predictors were within-person mean-centered so that scores
represented deviations from each athlete’s mean during the
2-week daily assessment period. In addition to unstandard-
ized coefficients (b), we reported standardized coefficients
(β) as a measure of effect size, which is a recommended
approach in multi-level modeling (e.g. Lorah 2018).
The reliability of daily multi-item scales was calculated
in SPSS based on G Theory (e.g. Brennan 1992; Shrout and
Lane 2012) using code specified by Bolger and Laurenceau
(2013). This approach is optimal for repeated daily measures
in multi-level models and allowed us to account for multiple
sources of variance, including differences between people,
items, and time (i.e., days). Specifically, our index of reli-
ability (“RC) assessed the extent to which within-person
changes were reliable across days. RC is higher when vari-
ance is predominantly attributable to differences across peo-
ple and time rather than differences across items and error.
Primary analyses were performed using the lme4 pack-
age (Bates etal. 2007) in R 3.6.1 (R Core Team, 2019). In
order to reduce limitations related to our smaller sample
size at the between-person level, our analyses focused
exclusively on within-person predictions to harness all
836 daily diary responses across participants. To test the
effects of daily emotion regulation strategies (in response
to negative events) on daily emotions (Hypothesis 1), we
entered each strategy – cognitive reappraisal, acceptance,
problem-solving, social support seeking, cognitive avoid-
ance, and behavioral avoidance – as predictors of daily
positive and negative emotions in separate models. Next,
we included significant predictors from these models
together to test which strategies predicted unique variance
in daily positive and negative emotions, again, control-
ling for negative event intensity. Since the intensity of
daily negative events was correlated with daily positive
(r = -0.31) and negative emotions (r = 0.45) at the within-
person level (Table1), we entered negative event intensity
as a covariate in all models for Hypothesis 1.
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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To test the effects of positive event intensity, savoring
positive events, and their interaction on daily emotions
(Hypothesis 2), we entered these variables as predictors
of daily positive and negative emotions. Since the inten-
sity of daily positive events was correlated with posi-
tive (r = 0.33) and negative emotions (r = − 0.16) at the
within-person level, we entered positive event intensity
as a covariate in all models for Hypothesis 2. To test
the emotionally protective effects of emotion regulation
strategies related to both negative and positive events
(Hypothesis 3), we selected the regulatory strategies that
predicted (more) positive and/or (less) negative daily
emotions from Hypothesis 1. In one set of models, we
entered negative event intensity as a predictor of daily
emotions moderated by the most effective regulatory
strategies from Hypothesis 1. In another set of models,
we entered negative event intensity as a predictor of daily
emotions moderated by the extent participants savored
their most positive events (with positive event intensity
as a covariate). For Hypotheses 2 and 3, we entered indi-
vidual positive (happy, grateful, content) and negative
emotions (sad, angry, annoyed) along with average levels
of each as outcomes.
Descriptive Statistics
Between- and within-person correlations and descrip-
tive statistics for primary study variables are presented
in Table1. Participants who completed fewer than 7 daily
diaries in total were excluded from analyses (N = 8).
The remaining participants (N = 67) completed an aver-
age of 12.89 daily diaries (SD = 2.19) for a total of 836
daily observations. Due to forced response settings on the
PACO app, completed daily diaries had no missing data.
Participants were instructed to delete the PACO app and
discontinue their completion of daily diaries after 14days.
However, several participants completed more than the
14 required daily diaries. In these cases, up to two diary
entries past the 14th day were accepted, and any additional
diary entries were removed from analyses. Daily diary
compliance was not significantly correlated with daily
positive and negative emotions at the within-person level
and was thus not accounted for during analyses.
The reliability of primary daily measures was generally
high except for the two-item acceptance scale (RC = 0.32).
When examining the items comprising this scale, it is
Table 1 Between- and within-person correlations and descriptive statistics
Notes. *p < .05
Coefficients below the diagonal represent between-person correlations
Coefficients above the diagonal represent within-person correlations
Scale = the scale on which each variable is scored. ICC = Intraclass correlation
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Daily Measures
1. Negative Event Intensity .15* .02 − .09* .33* .39* .13* − .10* − .14* − .31* .45*
2. Problem-Solving .30* .20* .02 .14* .12* .07* .02 .06 .05 .03
3. Cognitive Reappraisal .06 .57* .28* .09* .15* .14* .12* .11* .19* − .06
4. Acceptance .11 .46* .36* .01 .07 .04 .08* .08* .12* − .12*
5. Social Support .44* .50* .46* .39* .25* .17* − .03 .07 − .14* .33*
6. Cognitive Avoidance .51* .53* .51* .58* .58* .39* .07* .00 − .17* .29*
7. Behavioral Avoidance .29* .54* .59* .37* .67* .69* .01 .03 − .07* .19*
8. Positive Event Intensity .35* .41* .33* .24 .22 .23 .23 .44* .30* − .17*
9. Savoring Positive Event .09 .57* .71* .34* .55* .45* .55 .55* .33* − .16*
10. Positive Emotions − .18 .37* .53* .13 .16 .04 .25 .55* .65* − .49*
11. Negative Emotions .57* .06 − .08 − .04 .33* .43* .19 − .11 − .04 − .35*
Scale 1–5 1–4 1–4 1–4 1–4 1–4 1–4 1–5 1–5 1–5 1–5
M 3.07 2.31 2.06 2.68 1.56 2.35 1.66 4.03 2.17 3.00 1.82
SD 1.16 .87 .90 1.00 .65 .87 .76 .93 .85 1.02 .98
ICC .30 .30 .47 .27 .23 .33 .38 .27 .41 .48 .37
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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understandable that participants may have responded
differently to, “I learned to live with it” versus, “I just
accepted the fact that this is the way it is. While this
scale was designed for daily use (e.g. Aldridge-Gerry etal.
2011), “learning to live with it” may be less applicable
to daily stressors (which are often transient and do not
require long-term recalibration of expectations) and thus,
may have decreased internal consistency. Still, our accept-
ance measure arguably captures two different features of
acceptance, broadening content validity compared to a
single-item measure. It is no surprise that reliability was
lower on average for 2-item daily scales (except for cog-
nitive reappraisal; RC = 0.78) compared to measures with
three or four items (e.g. positive and negative emotions,
savoring). As a caveat, appropriate methods for calculating
the reliability of daily measures in multilevel models are
poorly understood, and when done correctly, reliability
may be lower than when using conventional methods (e.g.,
cronbach’s alpha) as if observations were independent (i.e.
not nested) (Nezlek 2011, 2012).
Hypothesis Testing
Hypothesis 1: Daily regulatory strategies related to negative
events predicting daily emotions.
Multilevel regression results (Table2) revealed that, control-
ling for negative event intensity, greater use of daily problem
solving predicted more daily positive emotions. Greater use
of daily cognitive reappraisal and acceptance were associ-
ated with more positive and less negative emotions, also
controlling for negative event intensity. Contrary to hypoth-
eses, greater use of daily social support was not associated
with daily positive emotions and was associated with more
negative emotions. As hypothesized, greater use of cognitive
avoidance and behavioral avoidance were associated with
more daily negative emotions but were not associated with
positive emotions. When combining regulatory strategies
that predicted more positive and less negative daily emotions
in the same models (Table3), cognitive reappraisal was the
only regulatory strategy that predicted more daily positive
emotions while acceptance was the only regulatory strategy
that predicted less daily negative emotions (controlling for
negative event intensity in both models).
Hypothesis 2: Positive event intensity predicting daily emo-
tions, moderated by savoring.
Positive event intensity predicted more positive and less
negative emotions. Daily savoring predicted more positive
emotions and less sadness, annoyance, and average negative
emotions controlling for positive event intensity. There were
also significant interaction effects between daily positive
Table 2 Multilevel regression
results with regulatory strategies
predicting same day emotions,
controlling for the intensity of
negativity events
Notes. *p < .05
Regulatory strategies predicting better emotional outcomes (more positive or less negative emotions) are
Outcomes: Positive emotions Negative emotions
Predictors: b β t b β t
Problem-solving .09* .06* 2.72 − .04 − .03 − 1.14
Cognitive reappraisal .22* .14* 5.85 .08* .05* − 2.08
Acceptance .08* .06* 2.84 .08* .07* − 2.65
Social support − .06 − .03 − 1.25 .27* .15* 6.04
Behavioral avoidance − .04 − .02 − .96 .17* .10* 4.14
Cognitive avoidance − .06 − .04 − 1.25 .27* .19* 6.04
Table 3 Multilevel regressions
testing unique variance
explained in daily positive and
negative emotions by significant
predictors from Table2,
controlling for negative event
Notes. *p < .05. Cognitive reappraisal and acceptance were entered into the same models predicting posi-
tive and negative emotions. N/A = Problem-Solving did not predict negative emotions in Table2, so it was
not included
Outcomes: Positive Emotions Negative Emotions
Predictors: b β t b β t
Negative event intensity − .24* − .21* − 9.42 .35* .33* 13.75
Problem-solving .06 .04 1.70 N/A N/A N/A
Cognitive reappraisal .19* .12* 4.83 − .05 − .03 − 1.39
Acceptance .04 .03 1.34 .06* .05* − 2.15
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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event intensity and savoring predicting daily happiness, grat-
itude, contentment, such that greater positive event intensity
was more strongly associated with positive emotions when
athletes savored these events more (Table4, Fig.1).
Hypothesis 3: Negative event intensity predicting daily emo-
tions, moderated by cognitive reappraisal, acceptance, and
In models containing cognitive reappraisal, there were
main effects for negative event intensity predicting less
positive emotion and cognitive reappraisal predicting more
positive emotions. Negative event intensity and cognitive
reappraisal interacted to predict gratitude such that greater
daily cognitive reappraisal buffered the negative association
between negative event intensity and gratitude. The negative
event intensity x cognitive reappraisal interaction did not
predict any other positive or negative emotions (Table5,
In models containing acceptance, there were main effects
for negative event intensity and acceptance predicting less
negative emotion. Negative event intensity and acceptance
interacted to predict less sadness, anger, and average nega-
tive emotions (but not annoyance) such that greater daily
acceptance buffered positive associations between negative
event intensity and sadness, anger, and average negative
emotions (Table6, Fig.3).
In models containing savoring, there were main effects
for positive event intensity predicting more negative and
less positive emotion, negative event intensity predict-
ing less positive and greater negative emotion, and savor-
ing predicting more positive emotion but not less negative
emotion. Negative event intensity and savoring interacted to
predict daily anger, annoyance, and average negative emo-
tions (but not sadness) such that greater savoring buffered
positive associations between negative event intensity and
anger, annoyance, and average negative emotions. Negative
event intensity and savoring did not interact to predict posi-
tive emotions (Table6, Fig.4).
Using a two-week experience sampling approach, we found
that, controlling for the intensity of negative events, greater
daily use of cognitive reappraisal and acceptance in response
to these events predicted more positive and less negative
emotion while problem solving predicted only more posi-
tive emotion. Cognitive avoidance, behavioral avoidance,
and interestingly, social support seeking each predicted more
daily negative emotion and did not predict positive emotions
after controlling for the intensity of negative events.
Table 4 Multilevel regression models with positive event intensity predicting daily emotions, moderated by savoring of positive events
Notes. *p < .05. Significant moderation effects are bolded. Avg. Pos Emo. = Mean of Happy, Grateful, and Content. Avg. Neg. Emo. = Mean of Sad, Angry, and Annoyed
Outcomes: Happy Grateful Content Avg. Pos. Emo Sad Angry Annoyed Avg. Neg. Emo
Predictors: b t b t b t b β t b t b t b t b β t
Positive Event Intensity .18* 4.43 .19* 4.31 .23* 5.02 .20* .15* 5.60 − .13* − 2.77 − .10* − 2.24 − .14* − 2.74 − .12* − .09* − 3.12
Savoring Positive Event .33* 6.82 .25* 4.82 .18* 3.25 .25* .15* 5.95 − .14* − 2.50 − .10 − 1.72 − .13* − 2.06 − .12* − .07* − 2.53
PE Intensity*Savoring .17* 2.86 .16* 2.40 .15* 2.21 .16* .08* 3.00 .05 .71 .00 .00 .005 .06 .02 .01 .33
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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When combining effective emotion regulation strategies
into the same models (i.e. cognitive reappraisal, acceptance,
and problem solving), only cognitive reappraisal and accept-
ance predicted unique variance in (more) positive and (less)
negative daily emotion, respectively. Controlling for positive
event intensity, savoring predicted more positive emotions
and less sadness and annoyance but not anger. Savoring also
moderated (strengthened) the association between posi-
tive event intensity and positive emotions. Finally, when
comparing the moderating effects of cognitive reappraisal,
Low PE Intensity High PE Intensity
Low PE Intensity High PE Intensity
Low PE IntensityHigh PE Intensity
Low PE Intensity High PE Intensity
Average Positive Emotions
Fig. 1 Interactions between the intensity of positive daily events and savoring predicting daily positive emotions
Table 5 Multilevel regression models comparing cognitive reappraisal and savoring positive events as moderators of the association between
negative event intensity and daily positive emotions
Notes. *p < .05. Significant moderation effects are bolded. Positive Event Intensity was added as an additional covariate in models containing
savoring. Avg. Pos. Emo. = Mean of Happy Grateful, and Content
Outcomes: Happy Grateful Content Avg. Pos. Emo
Predictors: b β t b β t b β t b β t
Neg. Event Intensity − .21* − .25* − 7.29 − .15* − .16* − 4.83 − .34* − .36* − 10.93 − .24* − .22* − 9.33
Cognitive Reappraisal .18* .14* 4.18 .26* .19* 5.55* .22* .16* 4.84 .22* .14* 5.91
N.E. Intensity*Cognitive
Reappraisal .07 .05 1.44 .10* .07* 1.99 .03 .02 .65 .06 .03 1.64
Predictors b β t b β t b β t b β t
Pos. Event Intensity .14* .13* 3.64 .15* .13* 3.62 .19* .16* 4.48 .16* .12* 4.81
Neg. Event Intensity − .17* − .20* − 6.13 − .11* − .12* − 3.62 − .32* − .34* − 10.04 − .21* − .19* − 8.11
Savoring .32* .26* 7.02 .27* .20* 5.22 .15* .11* 2.88 .25* .15* 6.10
N.E. Intensity*Savoring − .02 − .01 − .39 .06 .04 1.41 − .04 − .03 − .85 .003 .00 .10
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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acceptance, and savoring on the association between daily
negative events and emotions, accepting negative events and
savoring positive events provided a greater buffer against
negative emotional outcomes compared to cognitive reap-
praisal, which only buffered against the negative association
between daily negative event intensity and gratitude.
The fact that cognitive reappraisal and acceptance
emerged as significant, unique predictors of positive and
negative emotions is consistent with a number of experience
sampling and laboratory studies with non-athlete popula-
tions (Dunn etal. 2009; Eifert and Heffner 2003; Jamieson
etal. 2013; Nezlek and Kuppens 2008; Troy etal. 2010) as
well as cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based clini-
cal interventions. These regulatory strategies are explored
less frequently among college athletes in favor of studies
focused on sport-specific coping and the effects of regula-
tory strategies on athletic performance (e.g. Hanin 2007;
Jones 2012; Laborde etal. 2014; Lane etal. 2011). Adopting
a broader view, our study demonstrates the effectiveness of
various emotion regulation strategies related to both posi-
tive and negative events in daily life, which could be sport
or non-sport related. As awareness of and responsivity to
athlete mental health concerns has finally begun to increase,
it is important to understand emotion regulation within and
beyond the sport context. Of course, stressful events from
outside sport can impair sport performance without effective
emotion regulation (e.g. Cosh and Tully 2015).
The fact that social support-seeking predicted more
daily negative emotions may seem initially peculiar. Social
support is often considered an adaptive form of emotion
regulation, which promotes emotional and physical health
(e.g. Demaray and Malecki 2002; Frasure-Smith etal. 2000;
Turner 1981). However, some research suggests that social
support-seeking in the form of co-rumination (i.e. discuss-
ing and revisiting problems, speculating about their cause,
and focusing on negative feelings), is common among close
friend groups (e.g. athletic teams) and associated with ele-
vated depression and anxiety (Rose etal. 2007). It may be
that social support-seeking took the form of co-rumination
in our sample of young, predominantly female athletes and
was thus associated with poor emotional outcomes.
It is important to differentiate social support seeking from
the perception that one is obtaining the support they desire.
Our measurement approach captured the act of seeking
emotional and/or practical support from friends or family,
not the perception of whether support was received or ade-
quate. It may be that seeking social support was associated
with increased negative emotions because athletes sought
but never obtained adequate support. Research and theory
suggest that seeking but not receiving social support is
Low NE Intensity High NE Intensity
Fig. 2 Interaction between the intensity of daily negative events and
reappraising negative events predicting daily gratitude
Table 6 Multilevel regression models comparing acceptance and savoring positive events as moderators of the association between negative
event intensity and daily negative emotions
Notes. *p < .05
Significant moderation effects are bolded
Positive Event Intensity was added as an additional covariate in models containing savoring
Avg. Neg. Emo. = Mean of sad, angry, and annoyed
Outcomes: Sad Angry Annoyed Avg. Neg. Emo
Predictors b β t b β t b β t b β t
Neg. Event Intensity .31* .34* 10.10 .36* .39* 11.58 .37* .36* 10.82 .35* .33* 13.53
Acceptance − .11* − .11* − 3.11 − .08* − .08* − 2.28 − .05 − .04 − 1.33 − .08* − .07* − 2.76
N.E. Intensity*Acceptance .10* .09* − 2.63 .10* .09* − 2.88 − .05 − .04 − 1.29 .08* .06* − 2.73
Predictors b β t b β t b β t b β t
Pos. Event Intensity − .12* − .11* − 2.76 − .08 − .07 − 1.91 − .11* − .09* − 2.50 − .10* − .08* − 3.00
Neg. Event Intensity .31* .34* 9.87 .35* .38* 11.41 .36* .35* 10.46 .34* .32* 13.25
Savoring − .08 − .06 − 1.60 − .04 − .03 − .89 − .07 − .05 − 1.31 − .07 − .05 − 1.59
N.E. Intensity*Savoring − .06 − .04 − 1.30 .10* .09* − 2.26 .11* .07* − 2.19 .09* .05* − 2.41
Cognitive Therapy and Research
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associated with a host of negative outcomes whether social
support was sought in person (e.g. Cohen and Willis 1985)
or via social media (Frison and Eggermont 2015). In fact,
thwarted attempts at obtaining adequate support, along with
perceiving that one is a burden on others (which may stem
from these thwarted attempts), are well-established predic-
tors of suicidal ideation among at-risk populations, including
LGBTQ college students (e.g. Hill and Pettit 2012; Hill etal.
2017). Research should further explore how college athletes
seek social support, particularly from their teammates and
coaches, and which strategies for seeking and giving social
support promote healthy responses to distress.
To our knowledge, our study is the first to explore savor-
ing in the daily lives of athletes. When coaches, sport psy-
chology consultants, and researchers focus solely on regulat-
ing negative emotions in response to negative events, another
dimension of daily emotion and experience is ignored.
Promising findings continue to emerge in the field of posi-
tive psychology, showing that interventions enhancing char-
acter strengths, gratitude, savoring, and compassion not only
enhance positive emotions, but facilitate healthy responses
to distress (Chaves etal. 2017; McMakin etal. 2011; Meyer
etal. 2012; Sin and Lyubomirsky 2009; Smith and Hanni
2019). Our results add to this literature, suggesting that
savoring, while unrelated to negative events, may be effec-
tive in regulating emotional responses to such events.
Mindfulness is widely considered an important trait for
athlete performance and well-being (e.g. Aherne etal. 2011;
Haase etal. 2015; Kaufman etal. 2009), but despite convinc-
ing evidence, savoring is not typically considered under the
umbrella of mindfulness in athletic contexts. For example,
a recent study suggests that team-based interventions with
athletes that include gratitude and savoring components
are effective in reducing sport burnout and enhancing sport
satisfaction and well-being (Gabana etal. 2019). Research
should explore whether more mindful athletes engage in
more savoring, as they are adept at shifting their attention
and encoding positive stimuli more deeply. Athletes who
are less mindful may be less accepting of distress, become
more entangled with it, and make greater attempts to change
it (e.g. via cognitive reappraisal or other strategies).
The fact that savoring enhances athletes’ emotional expe-
rience is not particularly surprising given findings from
existing research with the general population (Bryant and
Veroff 2007; Jose etal. 2012; Silton etal. 2020; Sytine etal.
2019; Quoidbach etal. 2015). Although, it is notable that
savoring positive events buffered the effects of daily nega-
tive events on daily emotions – similar to accepting these
Low NE Intensity High NE Intensity
Average Negative Emotions
Low NE IntensityHigh NE Intensity
Low NE Intensity High NE Intensity
Fig. 3 Interactions between the intensity of daily negative events and accepting negative events predicting negative emotions
Cognitive Therapy and Research
1 3
negative events and more so than reappraising them. Cog-
nitive reappraisal is often touted as an optimal regulatory
strategy (e.g. Gross and John 2003; Haga etal. 2009), but
many studies fail to consider the contexts and individual dif-
ferences that modulate its effectiveness. Recent research sug-
gests that many individuals have difficulty using reappraisal
effectively and that reappraisal can be ineffective in certain
situations, such as when taking deliberate action would be
more effective or when negative emotions are useful for
achieving goals (e.g. Ford and Troy 2019; Troy etal. 2013).
Our findings add to this literature and other work on
the benefits of acceptance and cognitive reappraisal (e.g.
Vilardaga etal. 2013). Future research should not only
explore reappraisal and acceptance among athletes indi-
vidually, but also their co-occurrence. Emerging research
suggests that some individuals may use multiple emotion
regulation strategies at the same time, such as reappraisal
and emotional suppression, with greater benefits than using
only one (Sahdra etal. 2020). It would be valuable to know
whether a certain combination of regulatory strategies used
together enhance emotional outcomes for some athletes but
not others.
Limitations andFuture Directions
Our findings contribute new information to the study of
emotion regulation among athletes, but several limitations
must be considered. First, our analyses were correlational.
While separate studies suggest reappraisal, acceptance, and
savoring to play a causal role in reducing emotional distress,
future experimental studies should compare the reappraisal,
acceptance, and savoring interventions on emotional out-
comes. Second, our findings are contingent upon our meas-
urement approach. We used the four savoring items with the
highest factor loadings from a widely used scale (Bryant and
Veroff 2007), and these items predominantly captured the
social aspects of savoring (e.g. “I talked to another person
about how good I felt,”) along with counting blessings (“I
thought about what a lucky person I am that so many good
things have happened to me”). Future studies should assess
a wider range of savoring strategies at the daily level.
The generalizability of our findings is also limited by
the scope of our daily cognitive reappraisal measure. We
used two items from a daily coping scale published by
Aldridge-Gerry et al. 2011, which captured “positive”
Low NE intensity High NE Intensity
Average Negative Emotions
Low NE intensityHigh NE Intensity
Low NE intensity High NE Intensity
Fig. 4 Interactions between the intensity of daily negative events and savoring positive events predicting daily negative emotions, controlling for
the intensity of positive events being savored
Cognitive Therapy and Research
1 3
cognitive reappraisal, specifically (“I reminded myself that
things could be worse,” “I tried to think about or notice
only the good things in life”) rather than general cognitive
reappraisal (e.g. changing one’s thinking about a situation
to be more rational). The nature of our reappraisal measure
may explain high between-person correlations with daily
savoring (r = 0.71) since both measures capture a tendency
to interpret events more positively. However, within-per-
son correlations capturing the covariation of savoring and
reappraisal each day across people were low (0.11). Still,
while the cognitive behavioral therapy tradition emphasizes
rational thinking, athletes and other populations may prac-
tice reappraisal differently, perhaps valuing positive over
rational thinking. Using a succinct measure of daily emotion
regulation was crucial for minimizing participant burnout,
as we wished to measure a wide range of strategies each day.
Future studies focused on reappraisal or a smaller range of
strategies would benefit from adopting measures with more
items and stronger content validity.
Third, with 67 athletes, our ability to conduct between-
person analyses yielding stable results was limited. To har-
ness all 836 daily observations, our hypotheses focused
exclusively on within-person analyses. Despite barriers to
recruiting college athletes for intensive longitudinal studies,
researchers should strive to obtain larger samples to examine
individual differences in within-person predictors of emo-
tion regulation, including conscientiousness, negative emo-
tionality, mindfulness, and self-compassion. It may be that
individuals with higher trait levels of self-compassion are
more likely to savor positive experiences due to beliefs that
they are worthy. Given links between self-compassion and
mindfulness, individuals with greater self-compassion may
also derive greater benefits from savoring due to a tendency
to live in the present.
Fourth, participants in our sample overwhelmingly identi-
fied as white (91.1%). Experience sampling data suggest that
individuals from racial, ethnic, and sexual minority groups
use avoidant coping strategies more frequently on days when
stigma-related stressors are reported (Hatzenbeuhler etal.
2009). Replications with more diverse samples may yield a
wider range of reported positive and negative daily events
and differences in terms of use of regulatory strategies and
their impact on daily emotions.
Lastly, while we approached a range of men’s and wom-
en’s athletic teams, our final sample was overwhelmingly
female (89%). It is possible that the sex make-up of our
sample significantly influenced our results and the gener-
alizability of these results to the full spectrum of college
athletes. Data suggest that women tend to use a wider range
of emotion regulation strategies compared to men (Nolen-
Hoeksema and Aldao 2011; Thoits 1991). Women may also
down-regulate negative emotions by upregulating positive
emotions to a greater extent than men (e.g. McRae etal.
2008). Regarding savoring specifically, some evidence sug-
gests that women may be more inclined to savor positive
experiences than men (e.g. Bryant 2003; Kim and Bryant
2017) and are more open to positive psychological interven-
tions to enhance savoring (e.g. Thompson etal. 2015). Taken
together, this suggests that our findings related to savoring
might not generalize to male athletes, but data are needed
to support this claim. Researchers might consider exploring
differences in savoring use and effectiveness among men.
Researchers can also explore barriers and facilitators to
implementing positive psychological interventions focused
on savoring with men in athletic contexts specifically.
Despite these limitations, our study contributes valuable
information to research on athlete emotion regulation and
well-being. Our findings suggest that savoring positive
events may be equally beneficial to accepting negative ones,
and superior to cognitive reappraisal, in buffering against the
negative emotional consequences of daily negative events.
Coaches at the collegiate level and beyond often reference
the importance of savoring wins, then immediately getting
back to work. There is less emphasis on deliberately paying
attention to and noticing positive emotions about productive
practices, smaller individual improvements, downtime, and
positive experiences with teammates. Our results underscore
the potential importance of savoring daily positive events for
mitigating emotional distress during the competitive season.
Our findings also have implications for the design of well-
being and resilience focused interventions. While traditional
clinical interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy,
tend to focus on alleviating negative thoughts and emotions
(e.g. with cognitive reappraisal), there has been a surge of
interventions which aim instead to bolster psychological
strengths and well-being (e.g. “Positive Psychotherapy;”
Seligman etal. 2006). Positive psychotherapeutic interven-
tions are primarily designed to upregulate positive states,
traits, and experiences, but they may also reduce negative
states and alleviate symptoms of serious mental health dis-
orders, such as major depression and schizophrenia (e.g.
Chaves etal. 2017; Meyer etal. 2012; Sin and Lyubomir-
sky 2009). Savoring-focused interventions also show prom-
ise for promoting healthy responses to stress and reducing
depressed mood (Ho etal. 2014; Hurley and Kwon, 2012;
Meyer etal. 2012; Smith and Hanni 2019). We hope this
research program increases attention toward savoring as a
way of managing the various stressors inherent to college
Acknowledgement This work was sponsored by a Graduate Student
Research Grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Cognitive Therapy and Research
1 3
Portions of these findings were presented at the 2019 American
Psychological Association Annual Convention in Chicago, IL and a
research meeting at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, IN.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest James D. Doorley and Todd B. Kashdan have no
conflicts of interest to disclose.
Informed Consent All procedures followed were in accordance with
the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experi-
mentation (national and institutional). Informed consent was obtained
from all individual subjects participating in the study. If any identifying
information is contained in the paper the following statement is also
Animal Rights No animal studies were carried out by the authors for
this article.
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... Based on previous statements, gender differences in emotion regulation and emotional reactivity requires further explanation. On the other hand, several studies confirmed that athletes have higher dispositional hope (Curry et al., 1997), optimism (Nicholls et al., 2008), perseverance (Laborde et al., , 2016, resilience (Padesky and Mooney, 2012), and adaptive emotion regulation strategies (Lane et al., 2009(Lane et al., , 2011Laborde et al., 2014;Doorley and Kashdan, 2021). Furthermore, it has been reported that professional athletes had better mental health status than nonathletes (Şenışık et al., 2021) and showed lower negative emotional state values than expected average (Leguizamo et al., 2021) during COVID-19 lockdown. ...
... Costa et al. (2020) argued that athletes could potentially have more adaptive emotion regulation strategies to overcome negative emotions during COVID-19 lockdown. These regulatory strategies such as reappraisal and acceptance are explored less frequently among athletes in favor of studies focused on sport-specific coping and the effects of regulatory strategies on athletic performance (Lane et al., 2009(Lane et al., , 2011Laborde et al., 2014;Doorley and Kashdan, 2021). Athletes also have ability to improve and maintain savoring. ...
... Athletes also have ability to improve and maintain savoring. Doorley and Kashdan (2021) argue that athletes and coaches are mainly focused on overcoming negative emotions in response to negative events than upregulating positive one. Authors emphasize that interventions like enhancing character strengths, gratitude, savoring, and compassion not only enhance positive emotions, but facilitate healthy responses to stress. ...
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The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health have not been fully inspected among the young adults’ population. The objectives of the present study were: (1) to examine differences in emotional reactivity and emotion regulation between, both gender and sports engagement level during the first 2 weeks of the lockdown; and (2) to examine the possible impact of emotion regulation on emotional reactivity, and possible significant roles of gender and sports engagement level as moderators. This cross-sectional study included 315 Serbian young adults (aged 18–26 years old) during COVID-19 lockdown. Respondents answered socio-demographic questions and the Serbian version of the Multidimensional Emotion Questionnaire (MEQ). The results of confirmatory factor analysis indicated good fit for both positive and negative reactivity scales (SRMR = 0.037; CFI = 0.984, RMSEA = 0.046, and SRMR = 0.055; CFI = 0.964, RMSEA = 0.064, respectively). Gender differences were found in both positive (p = 0.039; d = 0.28) and negative emotional reactivity scales (p < 0.001; d = 0.60), with females reported lower and higher values, respectively. Professional athletes presented higher scores in positive reactivity scale in comparison to non-athletes (p < 0.001; d = 0.78) and recreational athletes (p = 0.034; d = 0.34) during 2 weeks of COVID-19 lockdown. Conversely, professional athletes scored lower in negative emotional reactivity scale in comparison to non-athletes (p < 0.001; d = 0.85) and recreational athletes (p = 0.006; d = 0.42). Both gender and sports engagement level differences were found for negative, but not for positive emotion regulation scale. Furthermore, results showed that engagement in sports level plays a significant role as moderator in relationship between negative regulation and negative reactivity, where professional athletes presented significant interaction effect and predicted lower negative reactivity scores compared to non-athletes and recreational athletes. However, gender does not moderate the influence of emotion regulation on emotional reactivity either positive or negative. Engagement in sports as a lifestyle may contribute to better emotional harmony especially in the crisis situation as COVID-19 lockdown.
... Supplementary Table 4) showed no differences from the main analyses, except in the case of rumination, for which the effect size became not significant (r = 0.70; k = 4; 95 %CI [.09; 1.49]). In the qualitative review, only one study evaluated the contemporaneous relationship between negative affect and worry (Nelson and Bergeman, 2021) and behavioral avoidance (Doorley and Kashdan, 2021) at the daily level, both showing a positive significant ...
... There were not enough data to meta-analyze behavioral avoidance (k studies=1), rumination (k studies=2), and distraction (k studies=3) in this path. No significant relations were found in studies evaluating the contemporaneous relation between behavioral avoidance (Doorley and Kashdan, 2021) and daily positive affect. We found mixed findings in the use of rumination and contemporaneous positive affect, such that one study showed a positive, but not significant relation (Brose et al., 2015), and the second one found a negative significant relation (Wang and Yip, 2019). ...
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Emotion regulation (ER) is a central target in the study of psychological and neurobiological processes of emotions for numerous psychological disorders. Ecological momentary assessments, overcoming retrospective self-reports, allow a better understanding of the relation between the use of ER strategies and daily life affective experiences. A systematic review and meta-analyses of studies testing these relations through experience sampling methods (ESM) and daily diaries were conducted. ESM studies showed significant large effect sizes between negative affect (NA) and rumination, suppression, and worry, and positive affect (PA) and reappraisal; medium effect sizes between NA and rumination, and PA and distraction; and a small effect size between NA and suppression. Daily diary studies showed significant large effect sizes between NA and rumination and suppression; and PA and reappraisal; medium effect sizes between PA and acceptance, and problem-solving; and a small effect size between NA and reappraisal. These findings shed light on the temporal relations between the use of ER strategies and affective experiences and highlight conceptual and methodological limitations in the field.
... Educational researchers have used savoring to foster student creativity , promote engagement and learning (Chang et al., 2021), reduce anxiety in foreign language classrooms (Jin et al., 2021), weaken the link between perfectionism and student distress (Klibert et al., 2014), and protect teachers from psychological burnout (Picado, 2012). Savoring has also been used as a resource in athletics (Doorley and Kashdan, 2021), and as a mechanism to understand how prayer enhances well-being (Crainshaw, 2014) and how time spent in nature boosts positive emotions (Sato et al., 2018). ...
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As research on savoring has increased dramatically since publication of the book Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience ( Bryant and Veroff, 2007 ), savoring has gradually become a core concept in positive psychology. I begin by reviewing the evolution of this concept, the development of instruments for assessing savoring ability and savoring strategies, and the wide range of applications of savoring in the psychosocial and health sciences. I then consider important directions for future theory and research. To advance our understanding of how naturalistic savoring unfolds over time, future work should integrate the perceptual judgments involved in not only the later stages of attending to and regulating positive experience (where past research has concentrated), but also the initial stages of searching for and noticing positive stimuli. Whereas most research has investigated reactive savoring, which occurs spontaneously in response to positive events or feelings, future work is also needed on proactive savoring, which begins with the deliberate act of seeking out or creating positive stimuli. To advance the measurement of savoring-related constructs, I recommend future work move beyond retrospective self-report methods toward the assessment of savoring as it occurs in real-time. The development of new methods of measuring meta-awareness and the regulation of attentional focus are crucial to advancing our understanding of savoring processes. I review recent research on the neurobiological correlates of savoring and suggest future directions in which to expand such work. I highlight the need for research aimed at unraveling the developmental processes through which savoring skills and deficits evolve and the role that savoring impairments play in the etiology and maintenance of psychopathology. Research is also needed to learn more about what enhances savoring, and to disentangle how people regulate the intensity versus duration of positive emotions. Finally, I encourage future researchers to integrate the study of anticipation, savoring the moment, and reminiscence within individuals across time.
... Understanding the effects of these processes when spontaneously employed in real life may help to identify whether and for what purposes these processes are beneficial. Research on cognitive reappraisal in daily life suggests it may lead to greater positive affect (Brans et al., 2013;Brockman et al., 2016) and help buffer the impact of negative events (Doorley & Kashdan, 2021); however, the effects of reappraisal are often variable depending on factors such as age (Brockman et al., 2016), level of symptoms (Farmer & Kashdan, 2012), and type of situation (Haines et al., 2016). Moreover, studies have largely assessed the construct of cognitive reappraisal (i.e., changing thinking in order to alter mood broadly; McRae et al., 2012) rather than the more specific process of cognitive restructuring (i.e., evaluating and altering maladaptive thoughts to make them more adaptive; Clark, 2013). ...
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Background Understanding how cognitive processes are naturally used by untrained individuals in the moment to cope with difficult thoughts may help inform effective and efficient interventions.Methods This study investigated self-reported naturalistic use of two evidence-based processes, cognitive restructuring and cognitive defusion, in an untrained, predominantly White female college student sample (n = 194) through ecological momentary assessments over seven days.ResultsCognitive restructuring and defusion had a large positive relationship. Both processes were also positively associated with increased momentary use of suppression and distraction. Only momentary defusion was associated with decreased rumination and negative affect at the same timepoint, while both defusion and restructuring were associated with positive affect and increased values progress at the same timepoint. Momentary defusion predicted later values progress, but only among those with low distress.Conclusions Overall, results suggest that both cognitive restructuring and cognitive defusion are used in a nonclinical, untrained population, that both processes are overall beneficial when used in the moment, and that defusion may be particularly relevant to certain aims such as lower rumination or values progress across time points. Replication among clinical and more diverse populations is needed.
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The study examines the necessity and sufficiency of gratitude for supporting workplace happiness among Indian university teachers. It also explores the mediating effect of psychological capital and social capital in the relationship between gratitude and workplace happiness. The moderating effect of spiritual climate is investigated. A survey of 726 university staff in India was undertaken to examine the relationship between gratitude and workplace happiness. A series of statistical tests involving correlation, multiple regression, and necessary condition analysis was undertaken from the data set. The mediation effect of psychological capital and social capital was investigated using bootstrapping estimates using PROCESS Macro in SPSS. Also, the moderation effect of spiritual climate was explored using PROCESS Macro in SPSS. The results reveal that gratitude is both a sufficient and necessary condition for workplace happiness. It also suggests a significant mediating effect of psychological capital and social capital. Also, a significant effect of spiritual climate amid the relationship between gratitude and workplace happiness is concluded. The study is one of the first studies that explore the relationship between gratitude and workplace happiness. It examines the mechanism through which gratitude influences happiness in the workplace.
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Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is a burgeoning area of research, and several clinical applications of the resulting data have been identified by researchers, suggesting potential benefit to psychotherapy practice. However, practitioners often do not use traditional empirically-supported tools for diagnosis and outcome monitoring (e.g., validated interview measures and questionnaires). Thus, it is not clear how readily practitioners will take up newer technology-enhanced assessment methods, despite current enthusiasm among researchers. The current study aimed to explore the perceived usefulness of EMA-based tools for clinical assessment and outcome monitoring of difficult psychotherapy cases, as well as to identify correlates of attitudes about the usefulness of these tools. Clinical psychologists in active therapy practice with adults (n = 375) completed an internet survey including the Attitudes toward Standardized Assessment scale and the Attitudes toward Standardized Assessment Scales-Monitoring and Feedback. Respondents characterized their current diagnostic and outcome monitoring practices and rated how helpful they would find several assessment and outcome monitoring resources for a difficult case, including both traditional instruments and EMA-based methods. EMA-based tools had lower perceived usefulness than existing instruments. Attitudes toward standardized assessment and outcome monitoring predicted the perceived utility of these methods, as did several professional variables. Practicing psychologists may not adopt EMA for clinical assessment more readily than traditional assessment tools. Recommendations for facilitating the uptake of new technologies by psychotherapists are offered.
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In recent decades, emotion regulation (ER) has been one of the most widely studied constructs within the psychological field. Nevertheless, laboratory experiments and retrospective assessments have been the 2 most common strands of ER research; thus, leaving open several crucial questions about ER antecedents and consequences in daily life. Beyond traditional methods, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) has the potential to capture ER dynamics during the flow of daily experiences, in real-life settings and through repeated measurements. Here, we discuss what we currently know about ER antecedents and consequences. We will compare findings from previous literature to findings from EMA studies, pointing out both similarities and differences, as well as questions that can be answered better with the EMA approach. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
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Interpersonal emotion regulation (IER) refers to social interactions that are intended to improve or worsen the emotions of others (Niven et al., 2011), and IER has been associated with emotional and motivational outcomes for athletes (Tamminen et al., 2016). Qualitative findings suggest IER among teammates is associated with performance, and that it is also important to consider IER interactions within the context of athletes’ social environment (Campo et al., 2017; Palmateer & Tamminen, 2018). The purpose of this research was to quantitatively examine these proposed associations among a sample of 59 university team sport athletes over a 10-day period. Athletes completed measures of perceived esteem support (Freeman & Rees, 2009) and social cohesion (Eys et al., 2009), and they rated the extent to which they provided and received affect-improving or affect-worsening IER with teammates in the days prior to and following a competition. Piecewise multilevel models were used to model changes in IER before and after competition. Overall, athletes’ engagement in affect-worsening IER decreased in the days before competition, while providing and receiving affect-improving IER decreased in the days following competition. Esteem support moderated some of these trajectories of IER, and there were interactions between esteem support and competition outcome on the trajectories of IER: more supported athletes reported providing and receiving more affect-worsening IER before a loss. Esteem support and affect-worsening IER also interacted to predict the team’s competition outcome: among athletes who perceived more esteem support, decreases in the receipt of affect-worsening IER in the days before competition was predictive of the team winning their competition. Social cohesion did not moderate any of the associations between IER, time, and performance outcome. These results suggest that athletes’ daily IER exchanges among teammates and their perceptions of esteem support have implications for team performance.
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Daily diary studies and experience sampling studies examine day-to-day variations in affect using different rating types: The former typically collect retrospective affect reports at the end of the day, whereas the latter collects multiple momentary assessments across the day. The present study examined the convergence of (aggregated) momentary assessments collected repeatedly within a day and retrospective assessments collected at the end of the day. Building on prior research on the memory-experience gap and the peak-and-end rule we predicted that participants would report more intense retrospective affect than aggregated momentary affect, and that retrospective affect would be biased toward the peak and the most recent affect of the day. Based on socioemotional selectivity theory and the strength and vulnerability integration model, age differences in these convergence indicators were expected. Findings from 2 age-heterogeneous ecological momentary assessment/daily diary hybrid studies (N = 242, 25-65 years; and N = 175, 20-79 years) revealed (a) a memory-experience gap for negative affect (more intense retrospective ratings than aggregated momentary ratings) that is attenuated with advancing age; (b) only a small memory-experience gap for positive affect for very old adults (66-79 years), but not younger adults; (c) relatively high convergence of aggregated momentary ratings and retrospective ratings despite (d) small biases of retrospective negative affect ratings toward peak and most recent negative affect. Findings suggest that both rating types can discriminate "good days" from "bad days" and provide overlapping but not necessarily exchangeable information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Sleep-related problems are prevalent in patients with psychotic disorders, yet their contribution to fluctuations in delusional experiences is less clear. This study combined actigraphy and experience-sampling methodology (ESM) to capture the relation between sleep and next-day persecutory symptoms in patients with psychosis and prevailing delusions. Individuals with current persecutory delusions (PD; n = 67) and healthy controls (HC; n = 39) were assessed over 6 consecutive days. Objective sleep and circadian rhythm measures were assessed using actigraphy. Every morning upon awakening, subjective sleep quality was measured using ESM. Momentary assessments of affect and persecutory symptoms were gathered at 10 random time points each day using ESM. Robust linear mixed modeling was performed to assess the predictive value of sleep measures on affect and daytime persecutory symptoms. PD showed significantly lower scores for subjective quality of sleep but significantly higher actigraphic-measured sleep duration and efficiency compared with HC. Circadian rhythm disruption was associated with more pronounced severity of persecutory symptoms in HC. Low actigraphy-derived sleep efficiency was predictive of next-day persecutory symptoms in the combined sample. Negative affect was partly associated with sleep measures and persecutory symptoms. Our results imply an immediate relationship between disrupted sleep and persecutory symptoms in day-to-day life. They also emphasize the relevance of circadian rhythm disruption for persecutory symptoms. Therapeutic interventions that aim to reduce persecutory symptoms could benefit from including modules aimed at improving sleep efficacy, stabilizing sleep–wake patterns, and reducing negative affect.
Objective Few studies have examined relations between college sporting events and maladaptive health behaviors among non-athlete college students. Participants: 97 college students. Methods: Completed nightly surveys (alcohol, eating, physical activity, sexual risk taking, smoking) for 11 days around a National Championship game. Results: Baseline stress and rumination was related to worse health behavior; mindfulness was related to better health behavior. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that all maladaptive health behaviors significantly increased the day of the sporting event compared to individuals’ baseline levels. Rumination significantly predicted a spike in alcohol use and sexual risk taking behavior on the day of the Championship game. Conclusions: Risk factors for maladaptive health behaviors include stress and rumination, while mindfulness is protective. Interventions may work to make sports events on campus safer for students (e.g., condoms, reminder emails, mindfulness interventions for at risk groups); more research is needed.
High reappraisal and low suppression are generally seen as desirable outcomes of therapy, but this combination may not benefit those who typically use reappraisal and suppression together. A daily diary study (N=187; Mage = 23.9; 71% females; 3,852 days; M=20.59 days/person) showed that the group-level correlation between reappraisal and suppression was positive (r =.32), but the within-person correlations varied substantially (-0.78 to 0.94). When multiple strategies users employed reappraisal without suppression on a given day, their affect was worse than if they were using no strategy. When single strategy users employed reappraisal with suppression on a given day, their affect was worse than when they used no strategy. Clinicians need to consider how clients co-use strategies in daily life.
Individuals with psychosis report employing more maladaptive and less adaptive emotion regulation (ER) strategies compared to nonclinical controls (NCs). However, it is unknown whether this is predictive of affect experienced in daily life and whether ER strategies are used less frequently and effectively by individuals with psychosis in daily life. Individuals with psychosis and current delusions (PDs; n = 71) and NCs (n = 42) completed questionnaires of habitual ER and experience sampling over 6 consecutive days, in which they reported 10 times a day on the presence of negative and positive affect and deployment of ER strategies (reappraisal, acceptance, awareness, suppression, rumination, distraction, and social sharing). Effectiveness of strategy use was operationalized by examining successive differences in positive and negative affect. Multilevel regression analyses were conducted. Questionnaires of habitual ER were largely predictive of affect in daily life. There was indication of a more frequent use of putatively maladaptive strategies but either no differences in individual adaptive strategies or even a more frequent use (reappraisal) in PDs compared to NCs. Several ER strategies (e.g., reappraisal, rumination) proved effective in reducing negative affect by the next prompt, independent of group, but suppression was effective in only PDs and acceptance had unfavorable effects in both groups. Thus, PDs demonstrated an increased use of ER strategies in daily life, of which the majority helped them to reduce negative affect. This indicates that their increased levels of negative affect are not explicable by difficulties in deploying explicit ER strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
Experiencing positive emotions is paramount to derive vitality from daily lived experiences. Positive emotions are associated with a range of beneficial outcomes, including longevity, reduced incidents of stroke, improved sleep quality, larger social networks, increased prosocial behavior, lower cortisol levels, and increased endogenous opioids and oxytocin. Despite these benefits, only limited research has focused on understanding positive emotion regulation within the context of depression. Rather, mechanisms related to the regulation of negative emotion have been the focus of research and evidence-based treatments. This interdisciplinary review article aims to advance knowledge regarding the role of positive emotion regulation in individuals with depression to inform the development of transdiagnostic evidenced-based approaches to treatment that bolster the experience of positive life events. We drew on research findings across the fields of clinical psychology, affective science, and social psychology to identify future directions for novel interdisciplinary translational research regarding mechanisms associated with positive emotion regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
Life span developmental theories suggest that as individuals age, they accumulate knowledge about how to deploy emotion regulation (ER) strategies effectively and learn how to match their ER strategy use with changes in situational demands. Using an event-contingent experience sampling design wherein 150 adults Age 18 to 89 years reported on 64,213 social interactions (M = 427.41, SD = 145.66) during 9 weeks of daily life, this study examines (a) age-related differences in individuals' usual ER strategy use (reappraisal, suppression) during everyday social interactions, (b) age-related differences in how much individuals' use of these two strategies varies across social situations-ER variability, and (c) age-related differences in the extent to which ER strategy use covaries with relational (close vs. nonclose others) and emotional (happy, sad) contextual features of those social situations-ER flexibility. In line with a small body of prior work, usual ER strategy use did not differ across adulthood and ER variability was lower at older ages. Results from multilevel models of intraindividual covariation suggested that individuals flexibly matched their ER strategy implementation to changes in emotional context-especially when interacting with close others. The results also provided evidence that the intraindividual covariation between relational context and use of suppression was weaker at older ages. Beyond these specific findings, this study demonstrated the utility of experience sampling designs, event-contingent reports, and the measurement/modeling of intraindividual variation and covariation for study of emotional development across the life span. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).