Healthy and unhealthy emotion regulation: personality processes, individual differences, and life span development.

Research paper by Oliver P OP John, James J JJ Gross

Indexed on: 29 Oct '04Published on: 29 Oct '04Published in: Journal of Personality


Individuals regulate their emotions in a wide variety of ways. Are some forms of emotion regulation healthier than others? We focus on two commonly used emotion regulation strategies: reappraisal (changing the way one thinks about a potentially emotion-eliciting event) and suppression (changing the way one responds behaviorally to an emotion-eliciting event). In the first section, we review experimental findings showing that reappraisal has a healthier profile of short-term affective, cognitive, and social consequences than suppression. In the second section, we review individual-difference findings, which show that using reappraisal to regulate emotions is associated with healthier patterns of affect, social functioning, and well-being than is using suppression. In the third section, we consider issues in the development of reappraisal and suppression and provide new evidence for a normative shift toward an increasingly healthy emotion regulation profile during adulthood (i.e., increases in the use of reappraisal and decreases in the use of suppression).