Journals/Articles, Personal development

Individual Differences in Two Emotion Regulation Processe

Individual Differences in Two Emotion Regulation Processes: Implications for Affect, Relationships, and Well-Being 

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
2003, Vol. 85, No. 2, 348–362

James J. Gross, Stanford University
Oliver P. John, University of California, Berkeley

“Frequent use of suppression as a regulatory strategy should thus relate to inauthenticity, that is, the tendency to present oneself in ways that are discrepant from one’s inner self to avoid disapproval or social rejection (see Gross & John, 1998).”

“Suppressors, by contrast, cope with adversity by “battening the hatches,” and feel inauthentic, rather than venting their true feelings. Suppressors tend to evaluate their emotions in negative terms, and their lack of clarity about their emotions is associated
with a lesser facility at mood repair, lower estimates of their own ability to regulate negative moods, and increased rumination.”

“To summarize, then, suppressors felt more negative emotions than nonsuppressors, but that difference was not manifest in their expressive behavior, as reported both by their peers and by themselves. Nonetheless, direct peer ratings of suppression indicated that peers were able to detect when individuals used suppression to regulate their emotions. ”

“Although suppressors’ efforts to suppress these negative emotions do seem to succeed to the point that they express no more negative emotion in their behavior than individuals who rarely use suppression, their peers nonetheless detect their suppression efforts.”

“Individuals habitually using suppression were less likely to share with others not only their negative but also their positive emotions. They also reported substantially more avoidance (discomfort with closeness and sharing) in close relationships, and this finding held for both attachment measures. This lack of emotional closeness with others was also evident in independent peer reports. ”

“In the domain of social support, however, the cost of using suppression was apparent: lesser social support across all forms of social support. This effect was strongest for emotional support.”

“Suppression showed the predicted negative associations with well-being. More specifically, individuals who typically suppress reported more depressive symptoms on all three measures, felt less satisfied with life, had lower self-esteem, and were less optimistic.”


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