Emotion regulation strategies, cognitive personality styles, and context as predictors of psychological outcomes
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
MetadataShow full item record
Emotion regulation (ER) plays a central role in the development and maintenance of a number of clinical disorders including depression. Research shows maladaptive ER strategies to be more strongly associated with symptoms of psychopathology and to be used more consistently across achievement and interpersonal contexts than adaptive ER strategies. This difference related to context might be explained by the cognitive personality style of the individual. The link between ER and well-being has been relatively ignored by researchers even though well-being represents another aspect of mental health. The present study examined the role that cognitive personality styles (sociotropy, autonomy) and ER strategies play in the prediction of psychological health outcomes (depression symptom severity, subjective well-being consisting of positive affect and life satisfaction) in different negative contexts (interpersonal, achievement). Results showed that generally, better psychological health outcomes were associated with lower sociotropy and the use of adaptive as opposed to maladaptive emotion regulation strategies in both negative interpersonal and achievement contexts. The use of adaptive strategies of problem-solving and cognitive reappraisal was linked to lower depression in high sociotropic individuals in both negative interpersonal and achievement contexts. The maladaptive strategy of worry/rumination was linked to more depression in high autonomous individuals in both negative interpersonal and achievement contexts. Experiential avoidance that is conceptualized as a maladaptive strategy appeared serve a useful function in high sociotropic individuals who reported less depression in both negative interpersonal and achievement context. Some context differences were observed. Acceptance and problem-solving predicted lower depression in the interpersonal context but not in the achievement context. Greater use of expressive suppression was linked to greater depression only within the achievement context and not within the interpersonal context. Worry/rumination predicted poorer subjective well-being (positive affect and life satisfaction) within the interpersonal but not the achievement context. These findings and their implications are discussed with limitations of the study in mind.