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留学生论文:Healthy and Unhealthy Emotion Regulation:Pe

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Healthy and Unhealthy Emotion Regulation:Personality Processes, Individual Differences,and Life Span Development
Oliver P. John
University of California, Berkeley
James J. Gross
Stanford University
ABSTRACT Individuals regulate their emotions in a wide variety ofways. Are some forms of emotion regulation healthier than others? Wefocus on two commonly used 留学生论文emotion regulation strategies: reappraisal(changing the way one thinks about a potentially emotion-eliciting event)and suppression (changing the way one responds behaviorally to an emotion-eliciting event). In the first section, we review experimental findingsshowing that reappraisal has a healthier profile of short-term affective,cognitive, and social consequences than suppression. In the second section,we review individual-difference findings, which show that usingreappraisal to regulate emotions is associated with healthier patternsof affect, social functioning, and well-being than is using suppression.In the third section, we consider issues in the development of reappraisaland suppression and provide new evidence for a normative shifttoward an increasingly healthy emotion regulation profile during adulthood(i.e., increases in the use of reappraisal and decreases in the use ofsuppression).In the extensive literature on emotion, two rather different perspectiveshave emerged. Are emotions irrational forces that unleash
Preparation of this article was supported by Grants MH43948 and MH58147 from theNational Institute of Mental Health. Correspondence should be addressed to Oliver P.John, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650.
Electronic mail may be sent to ojohn@socrates.berkeley.edu.Journal of Personality 72:6, December 2004.
Blackwell Publishing 2004
destructive thoughts and impulses (Young, 1943)? Or do emotionsrepresent the wisdom of the ages (Lazarus, 1991b, p. 820), which
successfully shepherd us through life抯 challenging moments? Bothperspectives, we believe, have some merit. Sometimes emotions aredestructive, and sometimes they are helpful. The challenge is to findways of regulating our emotions so that we retain their helpful featureswhile limiting their destructive aspects.
We have addressed this challenge in our research by focusing ontwo common forms of emotion regulation: Cognitive reappraisal involveschanging the way the individual thinks about a potentiallyemotion-eliciting situation in order to modify its emotional impact;expressive suppression involves reducing emotion-expressive behavioronce the individual is already in an emotional state.In the introduction to this article, we briefly review our generalmodel of emotion regulation and define the two specific emotionregulation strategies that have been the major focus of our research.
The three sections that follow focus on substantive findings regarding#p#分页标题#e#
these two strategies. The first section reviews experimental findingsthat shed light on the short-term consequences of reappraisal
and suppression in the laboratory. In the second section, we reviewrecent individual-difference studies that demonstrate the longer-termoutcomes associated with using reappraisal and suppression in everydaylife. In the third section, we consider the development of reappraisaland suppression, and provide new data suggesting thatemotion regulation undergoes important changes even after earlyadulthood. We conclude by considering the implications of this workfor psychological and physical health more generally, and point toseveral key directions for future research on emotion regulation.
A General Process Model of Emotion RegulationThe overarching framework for our work derives from a processmodel of emotion regulation. This model is based on the premisethat specific emotion-regulation strategies can be differentiatedalong the timeline of the unfolding emotional response (Gross,1998b, 2001; Gross & John, 2002). At the heart of this model is aconception of the emotion-generative process that may be found inthe work of a number of prior emotion theorists (e.g., Arnold, 1960;Buck, 1985; Ekman, 1972; Frijda, 1986; Izard, 1977; Lazarus, 1991a;
Levenson, 1994; Plutchik, 1962; Scherer, 1984; Tomkins, 1962).
1302 John & GrossBriefly put, this conception of emotion generation holds that anemotion begins with an evaluation of emotion cues. When attendedto and evaluated in certain ways, emotion cues trigger a coordinatedset of response tendencies that involve experiential, behavioral, andphysiological systems. Once these response tendencies arise, theymay be modulated in various ways. Because emotion unfolds overtime, emotion regulation strategies can be distinguished in terms ofwhen they have their primary impact on the emotion-generativeprocess. This process model of emotion regulation is summarized in
Figure 1.
Emotion Regulation Strategies on a Temporal Continuum
At the broadest level, we distinguish between antecedent-focused and
response-focused emotion regulation strategies. Antecedent-focused
strategies refer to things we do before the emotion response tendencies
留学生论文have become fully activated and have changed our behavior and
our peripheral physiological responding. Response-focused strategies
Situations Aspects Meanings Responses
a1 Experiential
S1x a2
S1 S1y a3 m1 Emotion +
S1z a4 m2 Response Behavioral
a5 m3 Tendencies -
S2
Physiological
Situation Situation Attentional Cognitive Response
Selection Modification Deployment Change Modulation
Reappraisal Suppression
Antecedent-focused Response-focused
Emotion Regulation Emotion Regulation
{
Figure 1
A process model of emotion regulation. According to this model,
emotion may be regulated at five points in the emotion generative#p#分页标题#e#
process: (1) selection of the situation, (2) modification of the situation,
(3) deployment of attention, (4) change of cognitions, and (5)
modulation of experiential, behavioral, or physiological responses.
The first four of these processes are antecedent-focused, whereas the
fifth is response-focused. The number of response options shown
at each point in the figure is arbitrary, and the heavy lines indicate
a particular option that might be selected. Our particular focus
is reappraisal and suppression (Gross, 2001).
Emotion Regulation 1303
refer to things we do once an emotion is already underway, after the
response tendencies have already been generated. As shown in Figure
1, five families of more specific strategies can be located along
the timeline of the emotion process (Gross, 1998b, 2001). Situation
selection is denoted in Figure 1 by the solid line toward one situation
(S1) rather than another (S2), and refers to approaching or avoiding
certain people, places, or activities so as to regulate emotion. Once
selected, situation modification operates to tailor a situation so as to
modify its emotional impact, creating different situations (S1x, S1y,
or S1z in the figure). Third, situations have many different aspects
(e.g., a1, a2, etc.), so attentional deployment can be used to pick
which aspects to focus on. Once focused on a particular aspect of the
situation, cognitive change refers to constructing one of the many
possible meanings (e.g., m1, m2, m3) that may be attached to that
aspect. Finally, response modulation refers to various kinds of attempts
to influence emotion response tendencies once they already
have been elicited, illustrated in Figure 1 by decreasing expressive
behavior ().
Two specific strategies: Cognitive reappraisal and expressive
suppression
Rather than studying all emotion regulation strategies at once, we
decided to focus on a smaller number of well-defined strategies. We
considered three factors when selecting strategies: (a) strategies
should be used commonly in everyday life; (b) strategies should
lend themselves to both experimental manipulation and individualdifference
analyses; and (c) because the distinction between antecedent-
focused and response-focused strategies is so central to our
theory, we wanted to include one exemplar of each in our studies.
Two specific strategies met these criteria: cognitive reappraisal and
expressive suppression.
Cognitive reappraisal is a form of cognitive change that involves
construing a potentially emotion-eliciting situation in a way that
changes its emotional impact (Lazarus & Alfert, 1962). For example,
during an admissions interview, one might view the give-and-take as
an opportunity to find out how much one likes the school, rather
than as a test of one抯 worth. Expressive suppression is a form of#p#分页标题#e#
response modulation that involves inhibiting ongoing emotion-expressive
behavior (Gross & Levenson, 1993). For example, one
1304 John & Gross
might keep a poker face while holding a great hand during an exciting
card game. Whereas antecedent-focused strategies like reappraisal
influence whether or not particular emotion response
tendencies are triggered, response-focused strategies like suppression
influence how emotion response tendencies are modulated once
they have been triggered.
Implications of Reappraisal and Suppression for Healthy
Adaptation: General Predictions
What are the implications of these differences between reappraisal and
suppression for adaptation? Because reappraisal occurs early, it should
be able to modify the entire emotional sequence before emotion response
tendencies have been fully generated. This suggests that reappraisal
may require relatively few additional cognitive resources to
implement and produce interpersonal behavior that is appropriately
focused on the interaction partner and is perceived by such partners as
emotionally engaging and responsive. Suppression, by contrast, comes
relatively late in the emotion-generative process and primarily modifies
the behavioral aspect of the emotion response tendencies, without reducing
the experience of negative emotion, which is not directly targeted
by suppression and may thus continue to linger and accumulate
unresolved. Because suppression comes late in the emotion-generative
process, it requires the individual to effortfully manage emotion response
tendencies as they arise continually. These repeated efforts
should consume cognitive resources that could otherwise be used for
optimal performance in the social contexts in which the emotions arise.
Moreover, suppression may create in the individual a sense of discrepancy
between inner experience and outer expression (Higgins,
1987; Rogers, 1951). This sense of not being true to oneself, of being
inauthentic rather than honest with others (Sheldon, Ryan, Rawsthorne,
& Ilardi, 1997),may lead to negative feelings about the self and
alienate the individual from others, impeding the development of
emotionally close relationships and contributing further to interpersonal
behavior that is distracted, strained, and avoidant.
Emotion Regulation Processes in the Laboratory: Experimental
Studies
Some of the model抯 predictions have been tested experimentally. In
the following sections, we review experiments that examine three
Emotion Regulation 1305
types of short-term consequences, namely affective, cognitive, and
social. Findings from these studies are summarized in Figure 2.
Affective consequences
To study the affective consequences of reappraisal and suppression,
we used film clips to elicit negative emotion and randomly assigned#p#分页标题#e#
participants to one of three conditions (Gross, 1998a): reappraisal
(thinking about the film they were watching in such a way that they
would not respond emotionally), suppression (hiding their emotional
reactions to the film so that an observer could not see what they were
feeling), and control (simply watching the film).
Results indicated that suppression decreased the behavioral expression
of negative emotion but not the subjective experience. Although
participants who suppressed showed much less expressive
behavior, they felt as much negative emotion as participants who
simply watched the film clips. Physiologically, participants who suppressed
showed signs of greater physiological activation (in cardiovascular
and electrodermal systems) than participants who simply
watched. By contrast, reappraisal decreased both the experience and
the behavioral expression of negative emotion without any increase
in physiological activation. Related studies have replicated these
findings and extended them to positive emotions such as amusement
(Gross & Levenson, 1993; 1997). Across studies梑oth our own
and those of other researchers梠ne intriguing point of asymmetry
between negative and positive emotions has emerged. Whereas
Reappraisal Suppression
Cognitive
Social
Affective + -
0 -
0 -
Figure 2
Summary of experimental findings regarding reappraisal and
suppression (Butler et al., 2003; Gross, 1998; Gross & Levenson,
1993; 1997; Richards & Gross, 2000).
1306 John & Gross
suppressing negative emotions leaves intact the experience of negative
emotion, suppressing positive emotions decreases the experience
of these emotions. Now that the findings are clear, future research
needs to elaborate the processes and implications of this asymmetry.
Cognitive consequences
The physiological consequences of suppression梚ncluding increased
cardiovascular and electrodermal activation梐re consistent with the
view that suppression is an effortful form of self-regulation (as compared
either to reappraisal or to no regulation). If this view of suppression
is correct, the effort associated with suppression should
decrease the cognitive resources available to the individual for other
tasks. To test this hypothesis, we have examined memory for social
information (e.g., names or facts about individuals seen on slides)
while participants were either reappraising or suppressing (Richards
& Gross, 1999; 2000). As predicted, suppression梑ut not reappraisal?
led to memory impairments for social information presented
while the individual was regulating emotions.
In a recent extension of this work, dating couples engaged in a
discussion of their most troubling relationship conflict (Richards,
Butler, & Gross, in press). Participants who had been randomly assigned#p#分页标题#e#
to suppress their emotional reactions during the conversation
later recalled fewer details about the conversation than did participants
who either responded naturally or reappraised during the
conversation. Moreover, we found that the increased levels of selfawareness
and self-regulation associated with suppression (e.g.,
measured using items such as: 憫To what extent did you try to monitor
your facial expressions and/or tone of voice during the conversation?拻)
mediated the effects of suppression on subsequent
memory. Thus, whether one examines tightly controlled experimental
conditions or more naturalistic social interactions, it appears that
using suppression leads to enhanced levels of effortful self-regulation,
which make it more difficult for the individual to later recall
details of the conversation.
Social Consequences
In social contexts, the cognitive costs of suppression may give rise to
social costs as well, as the suppressor fails to absorb information
Emotion Regulation 1307
needed to respond appropriately to others and appears avoidant,
seemingly not in tune with the subtle ebb and flow of the interaction.
To test this prediction experimentally, we adapted a design from
studies of social support: when individuals interact with another
person who shows few of the facial expressions expected in that
particular social interaction, they experience stress, and that stress
can be indexed by their physiological responding (e.g., Christenfeld
et al., 1997). Thus, unacquainted pairs of participants watched an
upsetting film together and then discussed their reactions (Butler
et al., 2003). Unbeknown to the other, one member of each dyad (the
憫regulator拻) had been asked either to suppress, to reappraise, or to
interact naturally with their conversation partner (the 憫subject拻).
Blood pressure was monitored in the subjects throughout the conversation
to index how stressful it was for them to interact with each
type of emotion regulator (i.e., the person instructed to use either
reappraisal or suppression). As expected, subjects experienced more
stress (i.e., greater increases in blood pressure) when interacting with
a person who was using suppression than when interacting with a
person using reappraisal. By disrupting the give and take of emotional
communication, suppression may be considerably more disruptive
to social interaction, relationships, and social support than
reappraisal.
Experimental Evidence: Summary and Limitations
Figure 2 summarizes the experimental evidence available to date
regarding the acute affective, cognitive, and social consequences
of reappraisal and suppression. Affectively, reappraisal has a positive
impact (decreasing negative emotion experience) whereas
suppression has a negative impact (decreasing positive emotion experience).#p#分页标题#e#
Cognitively, suppression impairs memory for social
information, whereas reappraisal does not. In the social domain,
too, suppression compromises social functioning, whereas reappraisal
does not.
In experimental studies such as the ones we have reviewed thus
far, participants are exposed to emotion-eliciting contexts and randomly
assigned to use reappraisal or to use suppression or to
act naturally. These experimental studies use powerful research designs:
by manipulating emotion-regulatory processes directly, they
can demonstrate causal effects of particular strategies on dependent
1308 John & Gross
variables of interest. However, such experiments also are limited to
testing effects that are fairly immediate. They cannot reveal the
longer-term, cumulative consequences of using particular regulatory
strategies for the individual抯 emotional life, relationships, and wellbeing.
Because longer-term consequences cannot necessarily be extrapolated
from short-term consequences, a second, and complementary,
approach is needed (Cronbach, 1957): This correlational approach
tests whether there are individual differences in the use of emotionregulation
strategies and how these individual differences relate to
outcome variables of interest. In a series of studies, we have taken
such a correlational approach to examine individual differences in
emotion regulation. Paralleling our experimental studies, our individual-
difference studies have focused on how the use of suppression
and reappraisal relate to affect, cognition, relationships, and wellbeing.
Emotion Regulation Processes in Everyday Life:
Individual-Difference Studies
Defining and measuring individual differences in reappraisal and
suppression
Are there reliable and systematic individual differences in emotion
regulation? To find out, we developed an individual-difference measure
of the chronic use of reappraisal and suppression (see Gross &
John, 2003, for details). We derived items rationally, indicating
clearly in each item the emotion-regulatory process we intended to
measure, such as 憫I control my emotions by changing the way I think
about the situation I抦 in拻 (reappraisal) and 憫I control my emotions
by not expressing them拻 (suppression). In addition to these generalemotion
items, the Reappraisal scale and the Suppression scale both
included at least one item asking about regulating negative emotion
(illustrated for the participants by giving sadness and anger as examples)
and one item about regulating positive emotion (exemplified
by joy and amusement).
We were careful to limit the apparent item content to the intended
emotion-regulatory strategy and to avoid any potential confounding
by mentioning any positive or negative consequences on affect,#p#分页标题#e#
social functioning, or well-being. The 10 items that comprise our
Emotion Regulation 1309
Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ; Gross & John, 2003) are
shown in Table 1.1
Factor analyses, both exploratory and confirmatory, show two
independent factors, in multiple samples of young adults. Table 1
shows varimax-rotated factor loadings, computed separately for
male and female young adults, from two large samples of college
students (i.e., combining Samples A and B from Gross & John,
2003). There were no gender differences in the factor structure. In
each gender group, the first factor was consistently defined by the
items intended to measure reappraisal, including the key item, 憫I
control my emotions by changing the way I think about the situation
I抦 in.拻 The second factor was consistently defined by the suppression
items, including the key item 憫I control my emotions by not
expressing them.拻 As shown in Table 1, in each gender group and for
each factor, the items loaded substantially on the expected factor,
and in each case, the intended loadings were substantially higher
than even the highest of all cross-loadings, indicating a rather clear,
simple structure.
Table 1 also shows the correlations between the 6-item Reappraisal
scale and the 4-item Suppression scale; they were very close to
zero. Thus, consistent with the factor-analysis results, the Reappraisal
and Suppression scales were independent. That is, individuals
who frequently use reappraisal were no more (or less) likely to use
suppression than individuals who use reappraisal infrequently. These
findings are important because they rule out two plausible alternative
models. According to one model, there is a single, general, emotion-
regulation factor, with some individuals regulating their
emotions a lot, using both reappraisal and suppression, whereas
other individuals regulate their emotions rarely, using neither strategy
frequently. According to the other model, individuals specialize
in terms of their preferred emotion-regulation strategy梥ome use
one strategy a lot, but not the other, and vice versa. However, our
findings showed no support for either of these two models and, in-
1. As expected from research on gender roles, men in the young-adult sample
reported using suppression more frequently than did women. As expected from
research on minority populations in the United States, African Americans, Asian
Americans, and Latinos reported greater use of suppression than the European-
American majority group did. There were no sex or ethnic differences in the use of
reappraisal (see Gross & John, 2003, for more details).
1310 John & Gross
Table 1
Varimax Rotated Factor Loadings for the ERQ Items, Alpha Reliability,
and Scale Intercorrelation in Young-Adult and Middle-Aged Samples#p#分页标题#e#
ERQ items and item numbers
Young Adult Middle-
Aged
Men Women Women
Reappraisal factor
1. I control my emotions by changing the way
I think about the situation I抦 in.
.61 .73 .80
2. When I want to feel less negative emotion,
I change the way I抦 thinking about the
situation.
.74 .74 .78
3. When I want to feel more positive emotion,
I change the way I抦 thinking about the
situation.
.78 .81 .73
4. When I want to feel more positive emotion
(such as joy or amusement), I change what
I抦 thinking about.
.67 .71 .54
5. When I want to feel less negative emotion
(such as sadness or anger), I change what
I抦 thinking about.
.66 .69 .59
6. When I抦 faced with a stressful situation,
I make myself think about it in a way that
helps me stay calm.
.41 .52 .61
Internal consistency (alpha) .72 .79 .76
Suppression factor
7. I control my emotions by not expressing
them.
.77 .77 .76
8. When I am feeling negative emotions,
I make sure not to express them.
.74 .76 .64
9. I keep my emotions to myself. .75 .77 .73
10. When I am feeling positive emotions,
I am careful not to express them.
.57 .55 .53
Internal consistency (alpha) .67 .69 .64
Scale intercorrelation .05 .06 .03
Note. ERQ5Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. Sample sizes: Young adult males
(389); young adult females (735); Middle-aged adult women (106). Items copyright
1998 by James J. Gross and Oliver P. John.
Emotion Regulation 1311
stead, suggest that reappraisal and suppression are two independent
regulatory strategies that different individuals use to varying degrees.2
What reappraisal and suppression do not measure: Intelligence, social
desirability, and broad personality traits
It is important to consider what our new Reappraisal and Suppression
scales do not measure. Most generally, our hypotheses suggest
that reappraisal has more favorable implications for psychological
health than suppression. Thus, it is important to ensure that any
such effects are not due to other factors, such as intelligence, socially
desirable responding, or general temperament and personality traits.
For example, more intelligent individuals might have noticed the
relative superiority of reappraisal over suppression and might possess
a greater facility with the cognitive transformations necessary in
reappraisal; similarly, individuals trying to give desirable responses
might report higher levels of reappraisal use than suppression use.
However, there was little evidence to suggest that these potentially
confounding factors played an important role. Reappraisal and
Suppression were not related to various measures of cognitive ability,
and the correlations with social desirability were, at most, small,#p#分页标题#e#
probably because our ERQ items are worded fairly neutrally and do
not mention individual differences in adjustment or psychological
health. Finally, correlations with the broad personality dimensions
defined by the Big Five traits (e.g., John & Srivastava, 1999) showed
only modest relations even with the emotion-based dimensions of
neuroticism and extraversion. Overall, these findings are consistent
with our conceptualization of reappraisal and suppression as rather
specific and narrowly defined individual differences in emotion-regulation
processes.
Related constructs: Inauthenticity, coping with stress, and mood management
In our model, suppressors rely on a regulation strategy that does not
allow them to express the emotions they are really feeling. One result
2. In initial analyses, we found that reappraisal and suppression have additive
effects on psychological health variables; that is, there was no evidence for interactions
between these two independent dimensions of emotion regulation on third
variables of interest.
1312 John & Gross
of using suppression in everyday life should thus be a profound sense
of incongruence between inner self and outer behavior. Authenticity
refers to the extent to which individuals behave in ways that are
congruent with their own inner feelings, attitudes, and beliefs, rather
than engaging in knowingly false self-presentations (e.g., Sheldon,
Ryan, Rawsthorne, & Ilardi, 1997). Frequent use of suppression as a
regulatory strategy should thus relate to inauthenticity, a construct
that captures individual differences in the tendency to present oneself
in ways that are discrepant from one抯 inner self to avoid disapproval
or social rejection (Briggs & Cheek, 1988; Gross & John, 1998). As
predicted, we found that suppression was related to inauthenticity
but reappraisal was not. Thus, individuals who chronically use suppression
are keenly aware of their lack of authenticity, and they admit
to deceiving others about their true inner feelings, attitudes, and
beliefs. They do so, they report, because they are concerned about
not being accepted by others, suggesting that these individuals use
suppression particularly in relationships they care about and are
afraid to lose.
Researchers interested in stress have conducted extensive research
on individual differences in coping styles, that is, the ways
individuals generally attempt to deal with adversity (e.g., Carver &
Scheier, 1994; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Zeidner & Endler, 1996).
Of the numerous coping styles that have been proposed, the two that
are conceptually most related to reappraisal and suppression are reinterpretation
and venting, respectively. As defined by Carver,
Scheier, and Weintraub (1989), reinterpretation involves looking#p#分页标题#e#
for the silver lining in stressful situations and trying to learn
from difficult experiences, whereas venting involves being aware of
one抯 upset and distress and 憫letting it out.拻 The conceptual similarities
with our two emotion- regulation strategies are apparent
but there are also important differences. The two coping styles both
focus solely on stressful situations and experiences, and each
taps a much broader set of underlying processes than reappraisal
and suppression: reinterpretation measures optimism and
learning from experience and venting measures both negative emotion
experience and expression. As expected, we found that reappraisal
was related positively to coping via reinterpretation,
and suppression was related negatively to coping via venting, but
both correlations were below .45. This means that individuals
who typically use reappraisal to regulate their emotions are some-
Emotion Regulation 1313
what more likely to cope by looking for something good
during stressful events than individuals who do not use reappraisal;
suppressors are somewhat less likely to be clearly aware of
and express their upset than those who use suppression less frequently.
Importantly, although this pattern of associations makes
conceptual sense, the correlations were not so high as to suggest redundancy.
Three other relevant constructs are measured by the Trait
Meta-Mood scales of Repair, Attention, and Clarity (Salovey,
Mayer, Golman, Turvey, & Palfai, 1995). The Repair scale
assesses optimistic attitude and use of distraction to improve negative
mood; the Attention scale refers to awareness and positive
valuation of emotions; and the Clarity scale assesses clarity
about and comfort with one抯 feelings. As expected, reappraisal
was positively related to mood repair, presumably because reappraisal
involves trying to think differently about the situation, thus
permitting early efforts at mood repair. In contrast, the use of suppression,
coming late in the emotion-generative process, would
hold little promise for early repair efforts, and the recurrent
effort required by suppression should interfere with increasing
awareness, clarity, and comfort regarding the very emotions the individual
is trying to suppress. Consistent with these hypotheses,
suppression was related negatively to all three meta-mood scales,
suggesting that frequent users of suppression indeed have less understanding
of their moods, view them less favorably, and repair
them less successfully. More generally, then, these findings suggest
that suppression involves 憫shutting down拻 emotions in a way that
interferes with attention to the emotion, prohibits coping via venting,
and creates a painful awareness of inauthenticity in social relationships.
Based on our model, as well as the observed pattern of discriminant#p#分页标题#e#
and convergent relations, we expected reappraisal and suppression
to have more than momentary consequences. Indeed, we
expected that the consequences of using these two emotion-regulation
strategies would accumulate over time. In the following
sections, we review the results of our individual-difference studies
regarding outcomes in four important domains of psychological
health: affect, cognition, social functioning, and well-being.
Exemplary findings from each of these four domains are provided
in Figure 3.
1314 John & Gross
Affective outcomes associated with individual differences in
emotion regulation
For reappraisal, theory and prior experimental studies suggested
straightforward hypotheses: frequent use of reappraisal should relate
to greater experience and greater expression of positive emotion, and
to less experience and less expression of negative emotion. To test
these hypotheses, we related our ERQ reappraisal and suppression
scales to two self-reports of emotion experience, and to self- and
peer-reports of emotion expression (see Gross & John, 2003).
As expected, reappraisal was related to greater experience of positive
emotion, and also to greater expression of positive emotion, in
both self-reported and peer-reported measures. With respect to negative
emotion, reappraisal was related to less negative-emotion experience
and expression, again in both self- and peer-rated measures.
These findings are illustrated in Figure 3.
By contrast, hypotheses for suppression were quite different.
First, for positive emotion, suppression should relate to both less
emotion experience and less emotion expression. Indeed, this is what
Social
(e.g., closeness)
Positive Emotion
旹xperience
旹xpression
Negative Emotion
旹xperience
旹xpression
Well-being
(e.g., life satisfaction)
REAPPRAISAL SUPPRESSION
.35*
.37*
-.47*
-.59*
.17
.30*
-.27*
-.58*
-.62*
.36*
.12
Cognitive
(e.g., memory)
.26*
-.34*
-.25*
Figure 3
Representative outcomes associated with individual differences
in the use of reappraisal and suppression (Gross & John, 2003;
Richards & Gross, 2000).
Emotion Regulation 1315
our findings showed. As illustrated in Figure 3, individuals frequently
using suppression experienced and expressed less positive emotion;
again this effect held for both self- and peer-reported measures.
For negative emotion, suppression does not diminish (nor increase)
momentary negative emotion experience in short-term experimental
settings, as we reviewed above. In everyday life, however,
suppression may serve to increase negative affect via its link with
inauthenticity. Specifically, as we reviewed above, people who frequently#p#分页标题#e#
use suppression are acutely aware of their lack of authenticity,
and experience an incongruence between self and experience
that has been linked to feeling bad about the self and even to depressive
symptoms. Thus, using suppression in everyday life might
actually be associated with greater negative emotion experience,
suggesting an important difference between the experimental and the
individual-difference approaches to studying emotion regulation.
Our results were clear: individuals using suppression were more likely
to experience negative emotions than were nonsuppressors. Most
important, this link between suppression and negative emotion experience
was fully mediated by inauthenticity; that is, the correlation
disappeared when the effect of inauthenticity was controlled. In
short, although these findings need to be replicated and extended,
they are consistent with the idea that, over time, suppression leads to
negative emotion experience because voluntarily using suppression
makes people feel inauthentic and bad about themselves.
How does using suppression relate to the behavioral expression of
negative emotion? According to the experimental research, when individuals
suppress in a particular emotional context, they experience
just as much negative affect but show less emotion-expressive behavior.
In everyday life, however, the situation is more complex because,
as we found, frequent use of suppression itself leads to greater
levels of negative emotion experience (rather than unchanged levels).
In everyday life, then, suppressors feel more negative emotion and
thus have more negative emotion to express; as a result, even if they
succeed in suppressing much of that negative emotion, they may express
as much negative emotion as the nonsuppressors, who had
much less negative emotion to express in the first place. In absolute
terms, then, suppressors and nonsuppressors may not differ much in
negative emotion-expressive behavior; however, relative to the actual
negative emotion experienced, suppressors should express much less
than nonsuppressors.
1316 John & Gross
Our results fit that pattern. There was no relation between suppression
and absolute levels of negative emotion expression (this was
true for both self-reports and peer report measures). However, suppression
did predict how much negative emotion individuals expressed
relative to how much they experienced, as indexed by the
difference score 憫negative expression minus negative experience拻
(i.e., positive values indicate expressing more than one feels, and
negative values indicate expressing less than one feels). As expected,
the correlation between suppression and the relative expression score
was negative and significant, and this was true for both self- and#p#分页标题#e#
peer-ratings of expression, suggesting that suppressors indeed expressed
less of the negative emotion they felt than did nonsuppressors.
Obviously, more research is needed to fully understand the
links between suppression and negative emotion. Nonetheless, the
present findings suggest two important conclusions: in general, the
experimental and individual-difference approaches lead to similar
results; however, the links with negative emotion seem more
complex, and interestingly so, in everyday life than in experimental
settings.
Cognitive outcomes associated with individual differences in
emotion regulation
Experimental findings suggest that response-focused emotion regulation
strategies such as suppression consume cognitive resources.
This cognitive cost of suppression is reflected in poorer memory for
social information presented during the time when the individual
was engaging in emotion regulation. By contrast, reappraisal has
shown no such costs in experimental settings.
To examine whether individual differences in the use of suppression
(but not reappraisal) would have longer-term cognitive consequences,
we related our ERQ measures to self-report and objective
measures of memory (Richards & Gross, 2000). As illustrated in
Figure 3, only suppression was related to self-reports of memory for
conversations and, as predicted, the relation was negative. Importantly,
the same pattern of findings was replicated with an objective
measure of memory, namely the extent to which individuals were
able to remember emotion-eliciting events they had previously described
in a week-long daily diary (Richards & Gross, 2000).
Emotion Regulation 1317
Social outcomes associated with individual differences in
emotion regulation
Emotions often arise during social interactions, and it is precisely
during these emotionally charged events that people regulate their
emotions because they want to achieve their goals and maintain
good relationships with their significant others. On the basis of the
experimental findings reviewed above, the chronic use of suppression
and of reappraisal should have considerably different consequences
for interpersonal functioning. As illustrated in Figure 3, this was
precisely what we found.
The use of suppression was generally linked to less social closeness
and support. Specifically, suppressors were less likely to share their
emotional experiences (Rime, Philippot, Boca, & Mesquita, 1992),
both negative and positive, with others. Because emotionally close
relationships often give rise both to strong emotions and to calls to
share these emotions with others, we expected suppressors to be uncomfortable
with close relationships and actively avoid them. Indeed,
suppressors reported substantially more attachment avoidance#p#分页标题#e#
(discomfort with closeness and sharing) in close relationships. This
lack of emotional closeness with others was also evident in independent
peer reports about their relationships. Over time, the cumulative
effect of avoiding closeness would likely be an
impoverished social network and the erosion of the individual抯 social
support, particularly in terms of its socioemotional aspects. Results
showed that suppression was related to lesser social support in
general, and, not surprisingly, that effect was strongest for emotional
support.
As expected, the use of reappraisal had quite different social consequences.
Socially, reappraisers have a lot going for them: they experience
and express more positive emotions, and in combination
with their positive take on challenging situations, this seems likely to
make them sought after as friends and associates. It is also advantageous
that reappraisers experience and express less negative emotions
than individuals who do not habitually use reappraisal. Indeed,
our findings showed that reappraisers felt free to engage in social
sharing of emotions, both positive and negative. Note that social
sharing of emotions is not equivalent to directing emotion-expressive
behavior toward a social partner: one can socially share emotions
with a social partner without expressing those emotions directly to
1318 John & Gross
the partner. Conversely, one can express emotions behaviorally
without social sharing. This distinction is important, as it may be
that sharing negative emotions without directing them toward the
partner is an important element of the reappraisers?social success.
Indeed, reappraisers had closer relationships with their friends and
were somewhat better liked than individuals using reappraisal less
frequently. Reappraisal was related neither to attachment avoidance
nor to social support, suggesting that individuals using reappraisal
were no more likely than nonreappraisers to actively seek out or
avoid attachment relationships and social support. However, when
they did have a relationship with someone, reappraisers did have
closer relationships as rated independently by their peers.
Well-being outcomes associated with individual differences in
emotion regulation
Based on our model, as well as findings presented thus far, the frequent
use of reappraisal should promote psychological well-being.
After all, one of the key effects of reappraisal is diminishing the
negative emotional impact of adversity. To the extent that depressive
symptoms are either triggered or exacerbated by negative responses
to challenges or losses, reappraisal should exert a protective effect
against depressive symptoms. Furthermore, in light of the positive
emotional and social outcomes associated with reappraisal, reappraisers#p#分页标题#e#
should have greater life satisfaction and higher self-esteem.
As predicted, individuals who habitually use reappraisal showed
fewer symptoms of depression, were more satisfied with their lives,
more optimistic, and had better self-esteem. In terms of Ryff抯 (1989)
domains of psychological health, they had higher levels of environmental
mastery, personal growth, self-acceptance, a clearer purpose
in life, a greater sense of autonomy and better relations with others,
the latter also consistent with our findings concerning social functioning
reviewed above. These well-being findings are illustrated in
Figure 3.
Not surprisingly, the chronic use of suppression was associated
with more adverse outcomes. In general, self-experience discrepancies
have been linked to adjustment problems (Higgins, Bond, Klein,
& Strauman, 1986). As reviewed above, suppressors feel more negative
emotion, have less social support, and have worse coping, all
factors known to increase risk for depressive symptoms. Indeed,
Emotion Regulation 1319
suppression was related to increased levels of depressive symptoms.
Moreover, suppressors had lower levels of satisfaction and wellbeing,
as one would expect from their keen awareness of their
inauthenticity (Sheldon et al., 1997), and less life satisfaction, lower
self-esteem, and a less optimistic attitude about the future, consistent
with their avoidance and lack of close social relationships and support.
In terms of Ryff抯 (1989) six domains of psychological health,
suppressors showed lower levels of well-being across the board, with
the biggest effect for positive relations with others.
Summary of individual difference evidence
To summarize our individual-difference findings concerning reappraisal
and suppression, Figure 3 shows representative findings
across four domains. In the affective domain, the use of reappraisal
is related to greater positive emotion and lesser negative emotion.
Cognitively, reappraisal does not appear to have reliable effects on
social memory. In the domains of both interpersonal functioning
and well-being, however, reappraisal was associated with better psychological
health. By contrast, the use of suppression is related to
lesser positive emotion and greater negative emotion experience.
Cognitively, suppression is associated with degraded memory for
socially relevant information. Socially, suppression is related to lesser
closeness, and in terms of well-being, suppression is again related
to poorer psychological health.
Development and Change
The experimental and individual-difference findings we have considered
thus far have been obtained using samples of young adults.
Also, as a short-hand, we have, at a number of points, summarized
our findings saying that 憫reappraisers do such and such拻 whereas#p#分页标题#e#
憫suppressors do this and that.拻 Both this phraseology and our use of
samples representing a single age-period may give rise to the impression
that we conceptualize individual differences in emotion regulation
as fixed and immutable and as operating the same way at
every age.
To the contrary, however, we conceptualize individual differences
in emotion regulation not as immutable traits but as socially acquired
strategies that are sensitive to individual development. Indeed,
in our college samples, the 3-month test-retest stability of
1320 John & Gross
Reappraisal and Suppression was about .70 (Gross & John, 2003),
leaving considerable room for change, especially over long periods of
time. In the following four sections, we consider development and
change in reappraisal and suppression. Because so little is known
about the development of individual differences in emotion regulation,
much of our discussion is necessarily speculative. First, we
consider the role of temperamental and personality factors. Then, we
consider family influences. Next, we present hypotheses regarding
changes in emotion regulation over the life span. Finally, we present
new data concerning changes in emotion regulation from early to
late-middle adulthood.
Temperamental and Personality Precursors
Temperament research suggests that individual differences in emotional
reactivity and regulation have strong genetic contributions
and make their appearance very early in life (Rothbart, Ahadi, &
Evans, 2000). These differences are reflected in adulthood by variations
in personality dimensions labeled neuroticism and extraversion
in the Big Five taxonomy ( John & Srivastava, 1999). These
affectively based predispositions may represent one developmental
origin of individual differences in reappraisal and suppression because
they may make it easier (or more difficult) for some individuals
to learn and then to execute specific regulatory strategies.
How do our adult measures of reappraisal and suppression relate
to neuroticism and extraversion? These findings can provide initial
evidence梑oth confirmatory and disconfirmatory梒oncerning the
likely temperamental precursors of reappraisal and suppression
(Gross & John, 2003). Of course, this evidence is indirect because
personality ratings in young adulthood are used to glean information
about childhood temperament. Nonetheless, this information
provides an initial basis for speculation regarding the origins of individual
differences in the use of suppression and reappraisal in
childhood.
For suppression, the most important finding was that it was not
related to neuroticism (r5.03). This null finding suggests that the
negative emotion experience associated with use of suppression does#p#分页标题#e#
not derive from temperamental differences in the baseline levels of,
or responsivity to, negative affect (Gross, Sutton, & Ketelaar, 1998).
In other words, people using suppression do not simply do so
Emotion Regulation 1321
because they have more negative emotions that need to be regulated.
Instead, the causal direction might be the exact opposite: using suppression
makes individuals feel inauthentic and bad about themselves
and thus more prone to experience negative affect and even
depressive symptoms.
The more likely temperamental precursor for suppression is low
extraversion (r5 .41 in early adulthood) or, more specifically,
shyness (Henderson & Zimbardo, 2001; Melchior & Cheek, 1990).
Self-conscious in social situations and keenly aware of looming rejection,
shy people may be particular sensitive to potential rejection
cues from others. This sensitivity may lead these individuals to employ
suppression to distance potentially rejecting others, a dysfunctional
person-environment interaction (Ayduk et al., 2000) that does
not apply to individuals who are not shy. This social-avoidance hypothesis
is consistent with prior reports that attachment-avoidant
women withdraw emotionally from their dating partners as they became
more anxious about an impending task, and attachment-avoidant
men showed decreased supportiveness of their partners as their
own anxiety increased (Simpson, Rholes, & Nelligan, 1992). More
generally, the expectation that significant others will not be available
fuels relational avoidance, the suppression of associated emotions
(Dozier & Kobak, 1992), and poorer encoding and memory of social
information (Fraley, Garner, & Shaver, 2000). These behaviors, in
turn, may lead to interpersonal isolation and even greater use of
suppression, creating a vicious downward spiral.
For reappraisal, the only Big Five personality correlation of note
we found was a small negative correlation with neuroticism
(r5 .20). This negative correlation suggests one partial temperamental
path to reappraisal. Individuals low in neuroticism are not
prone to extremely high levels of negative affect and therefore may
be less overwhelmed by their negative emotions, making it easier for
them to implement regulation efforts early in the emotion-generative
process than it is for individuals with extremely high levels of neuroticism.
To the extent that neuroticism is associated with either
tonic levels or phasic responses of negative emotion (Gross et al.,
1998), and that reappraisal involves the down-regulation of the brain
regions (such as the amygdala) that are involved in negative-emotion
generation (Ochsner, Bunge, Gross, & Gabrieli, 2002), individuals
low in neuroticism may find it easier to use reappraisal to regulate#p#分页标题#e#
negative emotion. This might permit these individuals low in
1322 John & Gross
neuroticism to remain engaged by potentially negative-emotion
eliciting situations long enough for them to find alternative ways
of appraising the situation that effectively serve to decrease the
negative emotion they experience.
http://www.ukthesis.org/Thesis_Writing/HRM/Family Socialization Processes
Whatever temperamental origins emotion regulation processes may
have, it seems likely that social forces powerfully shape these earlyappearing
individual differences. One important vehicle for socialization
may be parental and family influences. For example, parents
differ in their meta-emotion philosophy, defined as 憫an organized set
of feelings and thoughts about one抯 own emotions and one抯 children抯
emotions拻 (Gottman, Katz, & Hooven, 1996, p. 243). The
emotion-coaching philosophy is characterized by attention to, and
positive evaluation of, emotions, with explicit discussion of how to
best manage them, a parental philosophy we predict would encourage
children to use reappraisal. The dismissing philosophy, by contrast,
views emotions as dangerous, and focuses on avoiding and
minimizing them, thus suggesting a link to using suppression as the
habitual regulation strategy. Consistent with these ideas is the finding
that emotion coaching by parents was related to children showing
less stress during emotionally challenging situations, as measured
objectively by physiological activation (Gottman et al., 1996).
Emotion Regulation Across the Life Span
Much of the developmental literature on emotion regulation has focused
on the period from infancy through childhood (e.g., Thompson,
1990). This is a crucial period for the development of emotion
regulation, a time when temperamental, maturational (e.g., the development
of the frontal lobes), and social (e.g., family, teachers, and
peers) forces come together to lay the foundation for the individual
differences in emotion regulation we observe in adulthood.
However, there is also reason to believe that emotion regulation
processes may continue to change and develop throughout the adult
years. In part, age-related shifts in emotion regulation should be expected
due to changes in structural factors: there may be more situations
that require suppression in early adulthood than later
adulthood (e.g., in the work setting). Increasing life experience and
wisdom regarding the relative costs and benefits of different forms of
Emotion Regulation 1323
emotion regulation also suggest that changes will take place with age
(Gross & John, 2002). In particular, the data reviewed so far suggest
that reappraisal has a healthier profile of consequences than suppression;#p#分页标题#e#
thus, as individuals mature and gain in life experience, they
might increasingly learn to make greater use of healthy emotion
regulation strategies (such as reappraisal) and lesser use of less
healthy emotion regulation strategies (such as suppression).
Is our hypothesis that there is a normative shift in emotion regulation
consistent with existing data? First, this hypothesis is broadly
consistent with the fact that, emotionally, older individuals fare surprisingly
well in later years, despite a host of undesirable changes to
physical health and social networks (Carstensen, Gross & Fung,
1998; Carstensen & Turk-Charles, 1998). Second, this hypothesis is
consistent with data that suggest that relative to younger adults,
older adults report considerably less negative emotion (e.g., Helson
& Klohnen, 1998; Mroczek, 2001). Finally, the normative-shift hypothesis
fits with cross-sectional research showing that older individuals
report greater emotional control than younger adults (Gross
et al., 1997). Unfortunately, however, prior studies could not make
the crucial distinction between reappraisal and suppression, leaving
untested the hypothesis that there is a normative shift toward healthier
emotion regulation.
Emotion Regulation From Early to Late-Middle Adulthood:
Some New Data
We recently collected ERQ data using a sample of 106 women in late
middle adulthood who were all in their early 60 s (mean age561
years). These women had graduated from Mills College in the late
1950s (e.g., Helson, Jones, & Kwan, 2002) and were representative of
their graduating class at that time; in terms of cognitive ability, they
scored at or slightly below the national SAT norms of the times. Like
most college samples at the time, however, minorities are underrepresented
relative to the population in general.
The first question we addressed was whether the ERQ, developed
with college student samples, could be used in a sample of older
adults. In Table 1, we present the factor analysis of the ERQ items in
the 60-year-old Mills women. As was the case with the undergraduate
samples shown in Table 1, there were two factors. The first was
defined by the items intended to measure reappraisal, including the
1324 John & Gross
key item 憫I control my emotions by changing the way I think about
the situation I抦 in.拻 The second factor was defined by the suppression
items, including the key item 憫I control my emotions by not
expressing them.拻 Across the board梬hether considering the results
of factor analyses, the internal consistency of the scales, or the
zero correlation between the two scales梖indings from this sample
of women in late middle age closely parallel results from the undergraduate
samples.
The second question we addressed involves developmental#p#分页标题#e#
change. How does the use of reappraisal and suppression change
over the course of adulthood? Given that our ERQ measures of reappraisal
and suppression are brand new, one challenge in assessing
change over many years in adulthood is that the measure is by definition
not available for prior timepoints, making a true longitudinal
analysis impossible at this point. Thus, we addressed this issue in two
ways, using a combined retrospective and cross-sectional approach.
Using a retrospective design, the same individuals completed the
ERQ twice, once with respect to how there were now (early 60s), and
once with respect to how they were in their early 20s. This design
enabled us to compare age 60s?ERQ ratings with retrospective 20s?
ratings for the same individuals, testing the hypothesis that use of
reappraisal increases with age and use of suppression decreases. As
shown in Figure 4, use of reappraisal increased from the 20s to the
60s t(104)511.4, po.01. We also found the expected decrease in
suppression use from the 20s to the 60s, t(104)5 5.26, po.01.
These age-related effects are substantial in size (Cohen抯 d51.4 for
reappraisal and 0.7 for suppression), and in the predicted direction.
One limitation, however, is that memory effects may have influenced
these results.
To buttress these findings with a design that eliminates any retrospective
biases, we also used a cross-sectional approach, comparing
the ERQ data from this older-adult sample to current college
students. If our findings truly represent developmental change, the
predicted pattern should replicate when older-aged women抯 scores
are compared to younger women today. Indeed, even when compared
to our young adult women sample (N5735, mean age520
years, see Table 1), the older women reported greater use of reappraisal,
t(839)5 3.8, po.001. Also as predicted, the older women
reported lesser use of suppression than did younger women,
t(839)53.32, po.001. Like the retrospective findings, then, these
Emotion Regulation 1325
findings are consistent with the idea that, with age, individuals make
increasing use of reappraisal as an emotion-regulation strategy and
decreasing use of suppression, that is, a more healthy pattern of
emotion regulation.
Limitations and Future Directions
Taken together, our findings suggest that both in the short- and
longer-term, it is healthier for an individual to use reappraisal than
suppression to regulate emotion. This is not to say that it is never
helpful to use suppression. It may in fact be vital, particularly if it is
impossible to use reappraisal or other forms of antecedent-focused
emotion regulation. This is also not to say that it is never harmful to
use reappraisal. It certainly may be, as when one抯 reappraisals lead
one to tolerate a dangerous or unhealthy situation longer than one#p#分页标题#e#
should. However, based on the findings we have reviewed here, it
seems generally safer to rely on reappraisal than suppression when
one can. It is likely no accident, therefore, that we see the predicted
Age
Use of Regulation Strategy
2
3
4
5
6
20s 60s
Suppression
Reappraisal
Age Related Changes in Emotion Regulation
Figure 4
Age-related changes in the use of reappraisal and suppression.
1326 John & Gross
increase in the use of reappraisal and decrease in the use of suppression
during the period from early to later adulthood, an agerelated
change that may help to explain the lower than expected
levels of negative emotion in later adulthood. This convergence of
experimental, correlational, and developmental approaches is heartening.
However, these studies also have real limitations, and in the
following sections, we consider five important limitations and directions
for future research.
One limitation of these studies is that we have considered just two
emotion-regulation strategies, reappraisal and suppression, and have
examined them in general terms, rather than in the context of specific
emotions such as anger, sadness, and pride. This seemed a reasonable
initial step, given the complexity of the processes involved. An
important next step, however, will be both to broaden and deepen
this analysis of emotion regulation. Broadening might include examining
other families of emotion-regulation strategies, such as
those shown in Figure 1. This would allow us to determine how
various antecedent- and response-focused emotion regulation processes
differ. It will also be important to deepen the analysis. One way
this might be done is by testing whether a more complex story
emerges at the level of particular emotions. Do the consequences
associated with reappraisal and/or suppression vary importantly,
depending on which emotion one is considering (in a given context)?
We suspect the answer to this question will be yes, and that the picture
will become more complex than the one we have begun to draw
here.
Another important limitation and direction for future research is
to conduct longitudinal studies in which the same participants are
followed over time. Such an investigation would permit repeated
observations as the effects of using particular emotion-regulation
strategies unfold and accumulate over time. Antecedent individual
differences in the use of reappraisal and suppression could then be
linked to subsequent changes in outcomes, which in turn may themselves
provoke changes in the use of reappraisal and suppression. A
longitudinal design such as this would help us understand the causal
order of effects. For example, to extend the present work on social#p#分页标题#e#
outcomes associated with suppression and reappraisal, a longitudinal
study could examine newly forming relationships over time. Individual
differences in emotion regulation could be assessed at the
beginning of the year before previously unacquainted roommates
Emotion Regulation 1327
move into university dorms, followed by multiple assessments of the
relationship and the interactions between the roommates, including
such potential mediating variables as emotion expression, experience
and social sharing of emotion, offering emotional support, inauthentic
self-presentation (as experienced both by self and by the
roommate), and inattention to social cues during interactions. Social
outcomes could themselves be used to predict subsequent use of
specific emotion-regulation strategies, permitting a test of a model in
which initial emotion regulation leads to consequences, which, in
turn, provoke changes in regulation-strategy use.
Intervention studies would also help clarify the nature and direction
of influence of different emotion-regulation strategies on health,
both psychological and physical. Given that our present findings
suggested beneficial outcomes for reappraisal and deleterious outcomes
for suppression, one would not want to intervene in ways that
would decrease the use of the former or increase the use of the latter.
However, interventions could be designed that teach or socially encourage
individuals to increase their use of reappraisal or decrease
their reliance on suppression. For example, the latter type of intervention
could be modeled after a study (Giese-Davis et al., 2002) that
randomly assigned breast cancer patients to either a control group or
a group that encouraged the expression of emotions. Such studies
make it possible to begin to determine which of the several effects of
emotion-regulation strategies shown in Figure 5 (affective, cognitive,
social, and well-being) mediate longer-term effects on health outcomes.
Most of our research so far has been based on samples of relatively
healthy participants. One important direction for future research
is to consider emotion regulation in the context of samples in
which there is more variability in both psychological and physical
health status. As shown on the right side of Figure 5, emotion
regulation may have short-term consequences that accumulate and
importantly affect both psychological and physical health. Psychological
health consequences follow naturally from the individualdifference
studies we have reviewed above. It will be important,
however, to test whether relations between use of suppression (or
reappraisal) and subclinical depressive symptoms will generalize to
clinically significant conditions. With respect to physical health,
there is currently a great deal of interest in testing links between#p#分页标题#e#
emotion regulation and physical health, particularly for those at high
1328 John & Gross
risk of morbidity or mortality (Mauss & Gross, in press). For example,
with respect to suppression, individuals with cardiovascular
disease who have high levels of negative emotions and who use suppression
to regulate negative emotions during social interactions
were four times as likely to die of cardiovascular disease as individuals
who do not use suppression to regulate high levels of negative
emotion (Denollet et al., 1996). One goal for future research is to
establish both the health consequences of different forms of regulation
and the processes that mediate these effects.
Western philosophy and psychology has long been concerned
about emotion and its control, and this is a concern that runs
throughout our work. It is important to acknowledge, however, that
our studies條ike any others梐re the product of the particular cultural
context in which they occur. The questions we have asked, the
participant samples we have employed, and the methods we have
used, have all been set in a Western context. As our field抯 awareness
of its own cultural embeddedness grows, we do well to consider how
this cultural context informs our findings and their interpretation
and ask how our findings might generalize to other cultural groups.
For example, in a culture in which suppression is more the norm
than in some Western cultures, would the benefits associated with
suppression be greater, and the costs less? Only by asking questions
such as these will we be able to develop truly satisfying answers to
the age-old puzzle of emotion and its healthy regulation.
Social
Well-being
EMOTION
REGULATION
PSYCHOLOGICAL
HEALTH
Cognitive
Affective
PHYSICAL
HEALTH
Figure 5
Hypothetical links between emotion regulation
and health outcomes.
Emotion Regulation 1329
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