Regulating Others’ Emotions in Daily Life

MacCann, C. (University of Sydney), Pinkus, R. T. (University of Sydney), Clarke, I. (University of Technology Sydney), Kunst, H. (University of Sydney)

Emotion regulation is typically studied as the strategies one uses to control the emotions one has and when one has them (i.e., how one regulates one’s own emotions). However, people also use regulation strategies to influence the emotions others’ have and when they have them (i.e., how one regulates others’ emotions). In this experience sampling study, 119 psychology undergraduates completed a background questionnaire and 6 smart-phone mini-surveys per day for 5 days. Preliminary data analysis showed that: a) participants reported regulating another person’s emotions in 14% of beeps; b) the strategy ‘valuing’ was used significantly more than ‘distraction’, ‘humour’ or ‘reappraisal’, but was also rated as significantly less effective at changing the target’s emotions; c) self-esteem predicted greater use of reappraisal and humour, but empathy predicted greater use of valuing; and d) personality traits, but not emotional intelligence abilities, significantly predicted the use of other-regulation strategies. Results are discussed in terms of the feasibility of applying the Process Model of emotion regulation to the regulation of other people’s emotions as well as one’s own.

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