The regulation of negative and positive affect in response to daily stressors.

Experimental investigations of emotion regulation have shown that reappraisal (changing interpretations to change emotions) and distraction (directing attention to change emotions) are effective for regulating the experience of both negative and positive affect, while suppression (changing the outward expression of emotion) has been consistently shown to be ineffective. It is unknown, however, whether this pattern of effects generalizes to the context of daily stressors—a common part of daily life in which effective emotion regulation should be particularly beneficial. In addition, little is known about how frequently different strategies are deployed in response to daily stressors. The present investigation used daily diary methodology in two separate samples of adults (N = 174) to examine the use of these three emotion regulation strategies and their relationships with both negative and positive affect in response to daily stressors. Results revealed that reappraisal was negatively associated with negative affect and positively associated with positive affect, although the effect sizes for positive affect were larger than those for negative affect, suggesting that reappraisal may be particularly important for increasing positive affect in response to daily stressors. Distraction was consistently positively associated with negative affect, while suppression was not consistently associated with either negative or positive affect, suggesting that these two strategies may not be associated with emotional relief in the face of stressors. In terms of frequency of use, suppression was endorsed at higher rates than reappraisal and distraction, suggesting that individuals’ use of emotion regulation strategies may not align with their effectiveness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)