We propose a model of healthy intentional emotion regulation that includes a large repertoire of adaptive strategies that one persists with despite initial negative feedback. One hundred forty-four undergraduates (average age = 19.20 years; 68% female, 79% Caucasian) completed a novel performance task indicating what they would think or do to feel better in response to eleven stressful vignettes. After their initial response, participants indicated four more times how they would respond if their previous strategy was not working. Raters categorized each response as an emotion regulation strategy and coded the adaptiveness of each strategy. Participants self-reported Neuroticism, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms, and depressive symptoms. We regressed each personality dimension and psychopathology symptom on our model of healthy emotion regulation. Neuroticism was negatively associated with adaptiveness and persistence. Extraversion was positively associated with adaptiveness. Conscientiousness was positively associated with repertoire, adaptiveness, and persistence, while BPD symptoms were negatively associated with all three variables. Depressive symptoms were negatively associated with persistence. These preliminary findings suggest that people with larger repertoires of more adaptive emotion regulation strategies who persist with these strategies despite initial negative feedback report less personality pathology and psychological distress.
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology – Guilford Press
Published: Apr 1, 2018