Navigation Links
Keeping emotions in check may not always benefit psychological health
Date:10/28/2013

Being able to regulate your emotions is important for well-being, but new research suggests that a common emotion regulation strategy called "cognitive reappraisal" may actually be harmful when it comes to stressors that are under our control. The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"Context is important," says psychological scientist and lead researcher Allison Troy of Franklin & Marshall College. "Our research is among the first to suggest that cognitive reappraisal may actually have negative effects on psychological health in certain contexts."

Previous research has shown that cognitive reappraisal a strategy that involves reframing one's thoughts about a given situation in order to change its emotional impact is especially beneficial for the psychological health of people who are highly stressed. But, as Troy and colleagues discovered, the controllability of a given situation seems to be the key in determining whether cognitive reappraisal helps or hurts:

"For someone facing a stressful situation in which they have little control, such as a loved one's illness, the ability to use reappraisal should be extremely helpful changing emotions may be one of the only things that he or she can exert some control over to try to cope," Troy notes.

"But for someone experiencing trouble at work because of poor performance, for example, reappraisal might not be so adaptive. Reframing the situation to make it seem less negative may make that person less inclined to attempt to change the situation."

For their study, the researchers recruited a community sample of people who had recently experienced a stressful life event. The participants took an online survey aimed to measure their levels of depression and life stress. About one week later, they came to the lab to take part in a challenge designed to measure their cognitive reappraisal ability.

The participants first watched a neutral film clip intended to induce a neutral emotional baseline, and then watched three sad film clips. During these clips, they were randomly assigned to use cognitive reappraisal strategies to think about the situation they were watching "in a more positive light."

The results showed that the ability to regulate sadness was associated with fewer reported symptoms of depression, but only for participants whose stress was uncontrollable those with an ailing spouse, for instance. For participants with more controllable stress, being better at reappraisal was actually associated with more depressive symptoms.

"When stressors are controllable, it seems that cognitive reappraisal ability isn't just less beneficial, it may be harmful," explains Troy.

These findings add a wrinkle to the existing research, which has consistently shown that reappraisal is linked with positive outcomes.

"These results suggest that no emotion regulation strategy is always adaptive," says Troy. "Adaptive emotion regulation likely involves the ability to use a wide variety of strategies in different contexts, rather than relying on just one strategy in all contexts."

These findings have implications for public health, given that stress and impairments in the ability to cope with it are important predictors of psychological health problems. The findings also have important implications for clinicians, given that many existing forms of therapy focus on using cognitive reappraisal as a way of strengthening emotion regulation:

"Our results suggest that therapeutic interventions that seek to improve emotion regulation ability and teach clients to use particular strategies in context appropriate ways would be particularly beneficial," says Troy. "It may be, for instance, that more active strategies like problem-solving and seeking social support could be particularly beneficial in more controllable contexts."

The researchers plan on expanding their person-by-situation approach to the study of other emotion regulation strategies like acceptance, distraction, and suppression.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Coordinating the circadian clock: Molecular pair controls time-keeping and fat metabolism
2. Keeping Your Family Safe From Dog Bites
3. Keeping Kids Safe on Roller Coasters and Other Thrill Rides
4. Lipid helps cells find their way by keeping their antennae up
5. Keeping the faith through souvenirs
6. Keeping Up a Healthy Lifestyle Pays Off in Added Years: Study
7. Tips on Keeping Food Safe When the Power Goes Out
8. Care2Learn/Upstairs Solutions and Jarlette Health Services Sign Multi-Year Contract for Online Training and Record-Keeping
9. Keeping Sexuality Secret Takes Mental Toll on Bisexual Men
10. Dog Days of Winter: Keeping Pets Safe, Warm
11. Keeping Fit May Boost Survival With Endometrial Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... Twelve startups have been ... 2017 Cupid's Cup Entrepreneurship Competition. Chaired by Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin ... will showcase their businesses on February 6, 2017, at Under Armour’s global headquarters ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... Seceon ... cyber threats in real-time, today announced a strategic partnership with Paramount , ... monitor, respond and protect their critical information assets and infrastructure, in a comprehensive ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... MEETING, PA (PRWEB) , ... January 24, 2017 ... ... healthcare advocacy company, announced today that its annual Solutions Series of webinars will ... feature industry thought leaders discussing a number of current health and benefits topics, ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... OMI Industries, ... officially formed a distribution partnership with Byers Scientific & Manufacturing , a ... , Through the agreement, OMI Industries formulated a special version of Ecosorb® for ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... , ... His message has been heard by more than 100,000 students and ... , Joel Feldman, has reached his biggest national audience yet: the three million daily ... newspapers in circulation in the country, and he hopes it will help spread his ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/24/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO , Jan. 24, 2017 ... (TBUSA, formerly Clontech Laboratories, Inc.), a wholly owned subsidiary ... the In-Fusion® Cloning Primer Design Tool, powered by TeselaGen ... TBUSA, is a unique method that seamlessly joins together ... The free, online primer design tool facilitates easy design ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Analysis of the Liquid Biopsy ... Liquid Biopsies - our new study reveals trends, R&D progress, and ... you are involved in this sector you must read this brand ... streams to 2027, assessing data, trends, opportunities and business prospects there. ... Discover How to ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... DUBLIN , Jan 24, 2017 Research ... Devices Market Analysis and Trends - Product, Material - Forecast to ... ... poised to grow at a CAGR of around 5.4% over the ... Some of the prominent trends that the market is witnessing include ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: