The Effects of Emotion Regulation on Negative Affect During a Stressful Situation
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2017
Different emotion regulation strategies have been categorized as adaptive or maladaptive due to their positive or negative associations with symptoms of psychopathology (Aldao, Nolen Hoeksema & Schweizer, 2010); however, difficulties in emotion regulation can also be a result of a person’s lack of clarity about how to implement the strategies (Aldao and Vine, 2014). I examined self-reported use, observer-coded quality of use, accuracy, and resulting effectiveness of three emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal, humor, and distraction) among undergraduates (n=97) when viewing video clips aimed at arousing disgust. Surprisingly, the accuracy correlations for each emotion regulation strategy, indexed by coherence between self reported use and observer-coded quality of use, while significant, were small. Our results suggest that self-reported use of humor and distraction are associated more with effectiveness than either the quality or accuracy of the use. One possible explanation is that there may be a placebo-type effect such that an individual need only to believe that they are using the strategy correctly in order to reduce negative affect. These effects were surprisingly not mirrored in cognitive reappraisal, which may be a result of either a structural problem in the study’s design or reflective of a difficulty in implementing or measuring reappraisal use. This study may have implications for how emotion regulation strategies are taught and maintained in mental health therapy.
Psychology Undergraduate Colloquium, 3rd Place
Academic Major: Psychology
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